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Science

Best Sitting Posture Is Not Straight Up 291

Posted by kdawson
from the try-typing-in-that-position dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "Researchers at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland used a new form of magnetic resonance imaging to collect images from 22 healthy volunteers, who assumed three different sitting positions: slouching posture in which the body is hunched forward, an upright 90-degree sitting position, and a relaxed position where the subject reclined backward 135 degrees. They concluded that the reclined position is the best, and the forward slouch the worst." From the article: "'We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,' Dr. Bashir said. 'This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.'"
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Best Sitting Posture Is Not Straight Up

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  • Vast majority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benhocking (724439) <benjaminhockingNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:18PM (#17021628) Homepage Journal
    Does the vast majority of the global population really work in a sitting position, or is it just the vast majority that are participating in the "global economy"? I.e., if you factor in the billions who are living in poverty, is that statement still true? I'm skeptical.
  • by Phisbut (761268) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:51PM (#17022388)
    Or did you start to slouch the moment you read this?
    Unfortunately, the problem with the 135 degrees position is that you need a very good chair with a head-rest, otherwise, sitting at 135 degrees while keeping you head straight (in order to be looking horizontally at your monitor, rather than at the ceiling) hurts the neck.
  • Re:Duh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:59PM (#17022600) Homepage Journal
    "'We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,' Dr. Bashir said. 'This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.'"

    And anybody who has watched DS9 knows that Dr. Bashir isn't HUMAN- he's a genetic augment.
  • by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:25PM (#17023114) Homepage Journal
    Old phone books would prop up a monitor quite nicely.
  • by dstone (191334) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:30PM (#17023198) Homepage
    The article actually doesn't say anything about reclining

    No, the article specifically describes the posture as reclining. FTFA:
    The patients assumed ... a "relaxed" position where the patient reclines backward 135 degrees while the feet remain on the floor.

    You could achieve the 135 degree angle with a kneel-chair, but that's not what these researchers studied, so their conclusion can't necessarily be extended to kneel-chairs.
  • by Stormy Henderson (316646) <stormy@raincrazy.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:45PM (#17023472)
    The entire article is misleading with regards to 135 degrees being optimum. They only tested 3 positions: hunched forward, straight up (90 degrees), and reclining (135 degrees). Not surprisingly, 135 degrees was better than the other two. But it's hardly optimum. They didn't test 95 degrees, 100 degrees, 130 degrees, etc., to find a true optimum. That's a study I'd like to see. For the geometrically challenged, such as myself, the 135-degree thigh-back angle they mention can be more simply explained as reclining at a 45-degree angle. Isn't that easier to understand? They could have said that to begin with.
  • Re:Vast majority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bchernicoff (788760) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:46PM (#17023488)
    Farmers would probably spend a good deal of time sitting while driving equipment or filing for government hand-outs.

    A+ for slipping in this criticism of the farm subsidy system.
  • Support... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir Holo (531007) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:33PM (#17024386)
    135 degrees is a great trunk-leg angle, but only if your weight is supported down to your bottom. Slouching down to 135 deg in a "regular" 90 deg chair will buy you some expensive back surgery in your mid 30's.

    Trust me, I know.
  • by MojoStan (776183) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:44PM (#17025742)
    Unfortunately, the problem with the 135 degrees position is that you need a very good chair with a head-rest, otherwise, sitting at 135 degrees while keeping you head straight (in order to be looking horizontally at your monitor, rather than at the ceiling) hurts the neck.
    Maybe office chair manufacturers should take some design hints from car seat manufacturers. I once sat behind the wheel of a low-to-the-ground Ferrai Testarossa [wikipedia.org], and almost felt like I was lying on my back. However, the headrest's design somehow keeps the driver's head in a comfortable position to see the road.

    The first thought that came to my mind, when I saw this story's headline, was that this is important news for truckers, people with long commutes, and others who drive long distances. Office workers can at least find a moment to stand up and stretch once in a while. Drivers can put themselves in danger by just squirming in their seat.

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