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Chair-Use Disorder is Addictive!

Mar 20, 2024 | Conscious Leadership, Daily Trek

Chair-Use Disorder - Radical Trekking

Yup, enter a world of chair-use disorder (it’s really a thing!). Now, physical inactivity is categorized as an addiction by researchers.

You can’t make this stuff up: The report states that their next step involves creating stronger scientific proof that viewing excessive chair use as an addiction and addressing it as such is effective. Alongside individual or group therapy, strategies to lower sedentary behavior through public health efforts need to consider the addictiveness of chairs. These chairs, appealing consumer products, come from an industry we should refer to as “Big Chair,” similar to “Big Tobacco,” “Big Alcohol,” and “Big Food.”

We now live in a world where it is healthier to be a truck driver than an office worker.

But here’s the rub. When we lead with a problem-solution mindset, we stay stuck. Instead of seeing opportunities and possibilities, we focus on solving problems and fighting the system for our lives. We don’t get to the root cause of what is making us sick.

So, we invent things like how much chair-use disorder costs a country. Not what is the root cause of an unhealthy practice to a human life or blaming the chair for our inactivity. A recent report claims that chair-use disorder costs the Netherlands €1.2bn annually. There are 21,000 premature deaths a year from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Maybe we need to look at the cost of a  sedentary lifestyle? Perhaps there is an opportunity to question what work actually means in this century. And how regular movement, eating real food and consuming healthy beliefs create healthy people and societies?

But, instead, health experts are calling for urgent action to stop chair-use disorder from spreading across western countries. Because excessive chair use is now categorized as an addiction.

Of course, when we sit for long periods, we restrict our blood flow. But when we understand that our body is a connected miracle, we move. We nourish our body and soul with healthy elements. Being healthy means taking care of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual body—holistically.

When we have chair-use disorder (problem), we have employers instituting walking meetings, standing desks, breaks, meditation or gym memberships (solutions). But when we have an opportunity mindset, we question and ask, why is work making us sick? And what is possible in creating healthy, vibrant work environments?

And since work-life balance is a myth, how do we holistically live a healthy life is the real question at hand? Because there is only life for opportunity-creators, where work is simply part of it. Our life is more than a cost on someone’s spreadsheet.

Eurobarometer survey found that 26% of Dutch people over 16 sat for more than 8.5 hours a day. This is well above the EU average of 11%. Reducing this number by a quarter could prevent 5,200 “sitting deaths” a year.

Imagine when more of us are conscious about the health of our bodies and being in motion than needing to be productive and successful. Perhaps on top of sitting all day at work, and in our commute to work, we have an opportunity to question what is really making us ill? Maybe countries, companies and governments have an opportunity to ask healthy questions and create truly healthy systems?

Because do we really need governments to encourage us to stand more or go for walks? Perhaps all our systems are breaking down and we need to wake up to our power. And simply be in motion. Maybe if technology can do some of our mundane work, we free ourselves to become active. This is a time for embodiment instead of categorizing and fighting dis-eases.

Because at the root of our socialization processes of classroom learning is where we learn to sit and be obedient. But what school never teaches us is that “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

Maybe it’s starts with playing outdoors with our children when we can. And simply integrating walking and moving as a way of life. In many countries, people walk because they need to go someplace and don’t have time to hike. Dialogue does not require a walking meeting when connecting and building relationships is simply a way of life.

This is a time of not only great questioning but unlearning and creating opportunities. Because so much is possible when we become whole as individuals, organizations and societies.

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