Sometimes the design of animals is really not intuitive at all. Both horses and dogs have four legs, roughly the same body shape, and similar running mechanics, yet a horse spends its downtime on its feet, while dogs spend their idle moments off their feet.
Question is, which are we humans designed for?
I'd always assumed sitting down was natural, and even good for your posture provided industrial designers spent the appropriate amount of time injecting good support points in their designs. So a study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal puts forth a central point I really didn't want to know: That sitting is bad for you. Yes, sitting. And even more damning, it's still bad for you even if you break it up with exercise.
As The Times reports,
...To no one's surprise, the men who sat the most had the greatest risk of heart problems. Men who spent more than 23 hours a week watching TV and sitting in their cars (as passengers or as drivers) had a 64 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours a week or less.
What was unexpected was that many of the men who sat long hours and developed heart problems also exercised. Quite a few of them said they did so regularly and led active lifestyles. The men worked out, then sat in cars and in front of televisions for hours, and their risk of heart disease soared, despite the exercise. Their workouts did not counteract the ill effects of sitting.
Jeez. So what's the deal? We're designed with two legs, but surely we're not meant to be on them and walking around all the time, are we? Surely we're meant to sit, even if on the ground, for at least brief periods of time--otherwise why are our asses all soft and cushy?
Maybe it's just that we're not meant to sit for 8 hours a day in an office. (Try telling that to our bosses, let's see what they say.) And if these facts are taken seriously, what will this mean for furniture design? We've seen a couple of stabs at standing desks and treadmill desks, what do you think we'll see next?