Sinclaire Sparkman: Sit at your own risk

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Sep 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM

This week I was given the task of choosing new desk chairs for everyone in the newsroom. At first I was delighted to be entrusted with such an important task, but then I realized I was the one responsible for our comfort and productivity for the next five years. So, like any intelligent person in modern society would, I took to the internet to look up consumer reviews. 

The first thing I clicked on greeted the reader with a paragraph-long rant about the serious health risks of sitting for long periods every day. Apparently, people who sit at desks are 54 percent more likely to have a heart attack, and our social standards of sitting down to work are slowly but surely killing us. Somehow, these advertised chairs must have had a magical solution to reduce sedentary time while staying sedentary. Perhaps there was a built-in exercise function or it came with tips on how to work out while sitting in a rolling chair. Roll to the left, now to the right, you’re doing it. Feel the roll. 

Scrolling on I realized another disturbing fact. The super comfortable possibly-an-exercise-machine desk chairs often cost $600 or more. I hadn’t been told the exact budget for my venture, but I knew we were looking for something a bit more intended for heart attack risk. I guess only CEOs get to reduce their risk of heart attack while staying on their rump. Besides, who picks out a chair without sitting in it anyway?  

So I headed to Office Max to do the butt test. While there was no paragraph explaining how I should probably do jumping jacks at work every 30 minutes, there was an interesting corner on each chair’s tag. In a green circle on the top right corner was advertised a time, up to four hours, two hours, etc. I can only guess this was the amount of time before that heart attack risk meter starts to increase. I mean, seriously, now I can know exactly how long to sit in this particular chair before my lifespan starts diminishing. It is so nice to know that this sitting device actually gives me a longer time to sit and concentrate before the reaper starts tapping on my shoulder versus the other sitting device that will have him waving his scythe over my head for practice. 

This time in the circle wasn’t defined as anything though, so perhaps it’s the amount of time before your rear end starts going numb, or how long the user can roll across the office without the wheels falling off. It was really left up the imagination.  

I must say, if a chair can reduce my heart attack risk by design, then maybe it’s worth that extra $300. Shelling out the extra bucks is way better than being mindful of how long I sit at my desk without taking a water break to walk a bit. In fact, the whole need for exercise apparently just dissipates with the proper chair. 

If I choose the $1,200 chair with an eight-hour sit time, we’ll be able to sit for the whole workday as the super chair shoos the reaper away. Take your scythe out of my face, because this chair is handling all of my exercise today. 

Without the purchase of the right chair, my coworkers will unknowingly sit their way to death. I’ll have to face the guilt of choosing the super comfortable two-hour chair versus the charmingly difficult to sit in four-hour chair. Oh, how could I do this to them? The reaper will have a hey day with our inability to exercise while sitting in normal desk chairs versus super-exercise chairs.

I guess we’ll just have to find other creative ways to reduce our heart attack risk while sitting at work. 

Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @wilsoncoreports.

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