You must avoid the lair of crappy chairs.
They’re everywhere, you see. A crappy chair is any piece of furniture that becomes uncomfortable in a matter of minutes. The theory of ergonomics covers this important area of human existence and is defined as follows: the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.
Another website describing the theory of Ergonomics says this about it: “Ergonomics derives from two Greek words: ergon, meaning work, and nomoi, meaning natural laws, to create a word that means the science of work and a person’s relationship to that work.”
Ergo, don’t be stupid. Avoid crappy chairs. It’s that simple.
But one has to wonder if the next theory to be tried by a certain political party is trickle-down ergonomics. Because you know, everything trickles down and sooner or later it will have to hit our chairs.
It’s a plain fact: Next to beds, the chairs we use are the most important pieces of furniture in the world. When it comes to comfort and protecting the health of our often delicate physiques, chairs are paramount to health.
Perhaps you’ve worked in an office where the chairs aren’t comfortable. If that chair happens to be your office chair, the hours when you work can be equivalent to spending time in some medieval torture rack. Your back can become inflamed with sciatica or some other ailment that affects your workout schedule and a wicked cycle begins. You miss a few strength training sessions and suddenly something else gets out of whack.
So you must beware the lair of the crappy chair. It is one of the tarsnakes of athletic existence. A crappy chair can take you down faster than riding 100 miles on a bike. Although your bike seat can be just as bad if it is not suited to your butt bones, and position on the bike is critical.
The car seat can be an even worse enemy, you know. Some auto manufacturers actually seem to care about the fact that people will spend hundreds of hours sitting in their car seats and design lumbar support and adjustability into the seats of their vehicles. Even the simplest bit of concession to this fact can be helpful. One of the Subaru’s I once owned had a simple bar in the seat you could flip forward to provide lower back support. It helped tremendously.
But the next Subaru we owned was an Impreza wagon. For some reason there was no lumbar support bar in the seat. When I inherited that car in our family structure because my late wife got the new Chevy Impala, I wound up commuting 60 miles round trip in that car. My lower back got so bad that it was impossible to get out of the car by normal means one morning. I was forced to literally lift my left leg out the door and hobble into the building.
Lower back issues
Ugh. The lair of a crappy chair had done me in. So I bought a lumbar pillow that helped a bit, but then it felt like my ass was sinking even further down into the seat. Truly I loved that little car for everything else it offered. We went on family vacations to the north woods in our little green Impreza. But when my son was driving it home one morning after a post-drama production play party, there was frost on the window that blinded him to an intersection. He slammed into the rear wheel of a Toyota van and totalled the Impreza.
The airbag went off and the car was filled with that weird white dust that usually indicates you will never see that vehicle again once it goes into the insurance void that absorbs all such cars. Of course some of those vehicles pop out the other end of a process very few of us know about, in which they are repaired and then sold to Mexican druglords as a means to raise money to buy weapons for white supremacist militias who hate the government. I know it all sounds very confusing but that’s how the world typically works so deal with it.
So perhaps our little green Impreza is still out there on the road somewhere, camouflaged and armed to the teeth. But I pity whoever drives the thing, because that really was a crappy car seat. It nearly killed my back.
Now I drive an Outback that has so many seat adjustments you there is no excuse for being uncomfortable.
We should know better
As athletes we should know better and not put up with crappy chairs or killer car seats. But in that ironic twist of fate we call character, we often put up with loads of personal pain others will not tolerate. Rather than complain or demand a better chair, we try to will our crappy chairs and bad car seats into submission. Determined to win this test of character, we sit harder on our hard seats and wriggle our sore backs into unforgiving chairs as if there were a reward in heaven for doing so.
For months I wrote at the kitchen counter and sat in tall chairs from Pier One Imports. They are made from metal and have a modest cushion on which the butt perches. Those chairs are designed for sitting at a counter drinking wine and noshing on cheese and crackers. Somehow I tried to make them into a comfortable place to write. My back and hips complained and grew tighter as the weeks went by, but I would not listen.
That’s just stupid. But we all seem to do it. My gal pal Sue had a sore back last night because she worked at home for a day following her Ironman. By evening her back hurt like crazy. There were knots in her muscles and tightness in that zone leading from her back to her butt. So she laid down with a couple cats keeping watch as I massaged her back and pushed my thumbs into the sore spots. This morning she was fine.
We should all do ourselves a favor and become more aware of the lair of a crappy chair. Seriously, there’s no reason why you have to sit on that shit. Move your ass to something more comfortable and healthier for your back, your butt and your hips.
If it’s just a few minutes or you’re out for dinner, sometimes the lair of a crappy chair is unavoidable. But take your long term sitting seriously. Consider it part of your training routine, because if you don’t, you’re training routine will have to be seriously considered when you can’t do it.
Beware the lair of a crappy chair.
*note: those bruises in the photo above are not from sitting in a crappy chair. But they could be. Ha ha.