Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Siege Perilous

Years ago, Father A. had a yoga teacher named Tony, and Tony did not like chairs.  In fact, Tony disliked them so much that he had led a citizen's uprising in his son's rural school district, attempting to have chairs banished from the classroom.

A little ... utopian, you say?  Why yes.  That's why people move to the Berkshires.

Still, the evidence is strong that every chair is a deathtrap.  As an industrial designer with the improbable name of Colin McSwiggen explains over at Jacobin:
[L]ast year, the American Cancer Society wrapped up a fourteen-year longitudinal study of 120,000 participants and discovered that sitting for extended periods during the day dramatically increased participants’ risk of death. 
The result held even among participants who exercised regularly, and although there’s the usual confusion over causation and correlation, the study falls atop a growing pile of evidence that long times spent seated are a contributing cause of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, and practically innumerable orthopedic injuries. 
It does not matter if you are young, eat well and live an otherwise active life. Just being seated, in excess, will hurt you.
The problem is not, McSwiggen goes on to clarify, that sitting is the opposite of exercising.  It is deeper than that; the problem is that chairs themselves -- raised seats with back supports -- are inherently unhealthy.  They distort the muscles and ruin posture.

Oh, and they're politically dubious as well.  McSwiggen traces the history of the chair from the Stone Age to the Renaissance, arguing that until the Industrial Revolution, chairs were a rare commodity, generally reserved for monarchs and heads of households.  Everybody else squatted, and lived longer.

So:  the chair is a deadly, dangerous thing.  We hardly needed an industrial designer to tell us this; every bishop knows it.

2 comments:

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Since the "risk of death" is always 100%, how can this be true?

One of my pet leaves is TV docs claiming that a person can save their life by _______.

Course, I know what they mean, but hey, how many people die in bed compared to dying in a chair?

I may die waiting....I'm in an NC airport, when I'm supposed to be in Minneapolis. Flying here, we waited and waited at MPS and finally got to NC a day late.

Father Anonymous said...

So much for my upcoming Discovery Channel expose, "Save You Life By Tithing."