Epidemiologists have known that static sitting is bad for people for some time now, and it’s become clear that static sitting on conventional chairs causes at least two different sorts of problems.

Sitting in conventional chairs requires that anatomically unusual postures be held for protracted periods, postures that can cause stiffness and contribute to back discomfort. Additionally, the core muscles are put at rest by static sitting, leading to deconditioning of these muscles that sets the stage for back injury and chronic pain. An interesting series on National Public Radio explores some of these problems.

2. A second problem with conventional chairs is that sitting in these chairs causes most of the muscles in the body to “go dark”, that is, become metabolically inactive. This results not only in a decrease in the number of calories used, but a fundamental change our basic biochemistry, resulting in deleterious cardiovascular and metabolic effects: increased blood pressure, increased levels of fasting glucose, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein are all associated with static sitting. Indeed, in epidemiologic studies sitting still has been shown to be associated with increases in all-cause mortality and a host of other medical problems including cancer (Biswas et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults; Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:123-132). Discouragingly and perhaps counterintuitively, the metabolic harms caused by passive sitting are not reversed by periods of vigorous activity; going to the gym will not undo the harm of passive sitting.

There is some good news, however: it turns out that even modestly increasing the amount of activity involved in sitting may have large benefits: a recent study found that those who simply fidget while sitting are largely protected from the harmful metabolic consequences of sitting. Study. (Hagger-Johnson, Sitting Time, Fidgeting, and All-Cause Mortality in the UK Women’s Cohort Study. Am J Prevent Med; 50:154, 2016). Although it will require long term studies, we believe that the increase in seated activity provided by the QOR360 will provide important long term health benefits.

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