The History of Sitting Is Not Very Long

When we roamed the plains, it made no sense to build chairs – especially when nothing in nature is desk height.

Humans have only been sitting regularly for 0.1% of our existence. If our time on this planet were a day, we sat down at about 11:58pm. And now, Americans sit an average of 13 hours per day.

Sitting is clearly an experiment – we dove in headfirst –  and we’re just starting to discover the negative effects.

We’ve been on this planet for at least 200,000 years, only sitting for a paltry 200. Let’s see how it happened.

The Time Before Sitting

Humans are built to lay, walk, and squat, and it is suspected that that’s exactly what we did for the majority of our existence. Just look at how these men of the Hadza tribe effortlessly move in and out of squats. [h/t]

When we roamed the plains, it made no sense to build chairs – especially when nothing in nature is desk height.

The Transition to Sitting

In hunter-gatherer times, status was conferred by performance. It was immediate and obvious – everyone know who was the best hunter or gatherer. Once we moved to farming, status was harder to discern quickly. Chairs swept in to lift the wealthy above the poor – literally – by elevating them from the squatters on the ground.

Chairs started as instruments for the wealthy. In the 1800s, the industrial revolution allowed for mass production of cheaper chairs, and the more stationary factory work better leant itself to sitting.

By 1900, the majority were sitting at home and work, and now we’ve hit an average of 13 hours/day on our butts.

Quitting Sitting The History of Chairs

What This Means for Modern Times

Sitting is a very new practice, and as such, should be viewed with a skeptical eye. Recent research has justified that skepticism by demonstrating links to all sorts of negative health effects of sitting.

So do like humans did for the majority of our existence: Sit less. You’ll be better for it.

Make your transition to standing the healthy way with the Quitting Sitting Transition Plan.

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