Have you ever thought to calculate how many hours a day, week, month, year, you spend sitting on a chair or sofa?  It seems the number of hours we spend sitting has many detrimental effects on our bodies – internally and externally – and sitting for extended hours on chairs flattens our buttocks and atrophies the muscles of our lower body.  Sitting in chairs also causes poor circulation for the legs and increases the propensity of developing spider veins,varicose veins, blood clots and heart failure.  All of these ailments are made worse if we are not participating in regular aerobic activity.

In indigenous or very old cultures people do not sit on the tall types of chairs that we in the western world sit on.  They primarily sit on the ground or close to the ground/floor on very low sitting chairs, which are better for the body’s overall health.  Even in today’s modern Japanese culture, Japanese people sit low to the ground.

There was a time in my life when I stood for many hours a day braiding hair, then I switched up and started sitting on a high stool. I developed sciatica from that sitting choice.  Thankfully, I am able to easily treat my sciatica with exercise, stretching, or massage. If it really gets out of hand acupuncture treatment will disperse it immediately. I’d like to share here a couple of ways to mitigate the effects of sitting on chairs. The video below cautions us to stand for five minutes every half hour when sitting for long stretches.

You should be aware that unless you set an alarm to remind you to stand up every half hour, you will most likely forget and never do this simple but highly effective practice.  I highly recommend you set an alarm for the hours that you are at work to ping and remind you to stand every half hour.  This can be easily achieved on your smartphone.  This simple practice will improve the vitality of your body, mind, and spirit.  In addition, it will be a quick rest for the brain and the eyes, refreshing your thought patterns and promoting new ideas. This will make such a difference in your overall well-being and health.

There is something else we can do to help save our derrieres and help build muscles. While I was retreating at Rancho La Puerta, I asked fitness instructor Coco Bennett for an easy way to tone the lower part of the body, the buttocks, and thighs.  She recommended sitting on an exercise ball instead of sitting on chairs and sofas.  This is the simple but powerful advice Coco offered is also inexpensive with no negative impact on the knees and other joints.  You may already own an exercise ball that is sitting somewhere in your home gathering dust and half-deflated waiting for you to put it to work.

Coco went on to say that sitting on a ball causes the muscles of your glutes, hamstrings, hips, abdomen, and back to become engaged, as the body continually makes micro adjustments in maintaining balance on the ball.  This helps to build muscle as opposed to muscles atrophying and becoming flat from sitting on chairs and sofas.  To do this properly, it is best to use your back muscles by sitting up straight and tall but relaxed while sitting on your exercise ball.

One of the craziest things I’ve noticed living in New York is that people who spend all day sitting in an office will leave work, walk a couple of blocks to the subway and then will literally knock you over to get a seat on the subway.  You’d think they would want to stand a bit after sitting all day, but guess what?  They’re probably tired from sitting all day and then they feel compelled to sit some more.  It’s like a catch-22.  Most of us may not be yet ready to change our lives to sit closer to the floor or ground, but sitting on an exercise ball is an inexpensive and accessible option.  All you have to do now is commit to going for it.  By the way, this information is pertinent for women and men.

To recap, these tips are the next best thing to sitting on the floor or sitting close to the floor.

  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Sit on an exercise ball when you are able
  • Stand for 5 minutes after every half hour of sitting

These simple practices will increase your vitality, improve your overall health, and help tone muscles and plump up the buttocks!  Let’s do all we can do to save our buns and our lives.  All those who love us will be happy know that we are doing all we can to improve and maintain our health.