Chair

Over the years, the most common “pro” to become my client was the semi-pro, or the blossoming talent. They went from bustling homes, to bustling jobs, and somewhere in-between found the time and energy to peruse a passion and side career in the sport or activity that they loved.

It was never about the money. They would be doing this anyway, but the extra income or sponsorship never hurts.

Let’s not fantasize this thought; these were some of the hardest working folks I know. Yes, full-blown professional athletes are dedicated and fully engaged, but they also have a LOT of assistance – and assistanTS!

This month’s article is really geared toward those of us who are active, but also have a “real job” that requires us to “desk jockey.” Though Urban Dictionary will give a pretty negative view of what desk jockey means (I never take UD seriously), my definition is a career that requires being seated for longer than is really healthy... and let me add that many of us desk jockeys (and yes, I am one) LOVE their jobs (I work for our lovely Monadnock Food Co-op, for example).

So, if you have to sit for most of the hours of the day, it’s important to know what it can do to your body. Hopefully, the knowledge will help motivate us to take some action to improve our work-place sitting habits.

OK, so the simple truth is that the human body was built with one big purpose: movement. There was never an intention for humans to be in a state of stillness outside of short periods of rest and regular, deep sleep.

When we become sedentary, so many things happen inside of our bodies. I believe we can’t even grasp the full picture, and maybe never will, but it is safe to say that our cells become lazy – they’re slow, get less nutrition and are under undo stress to try and do their jobs without their normal state of movement, even slight.

Think of a hummingbird who absolutely needs the motion of its wings to keep it alive! We have a similar need – it just happens to be that our bodies were made to take a beating, so we have a better chance of longer survival even if sedentary. BUT, that doesn’t mean it will be vital survival. See the difference?

So, in order to be the best desk jockey you can be, and reap some of the benefits of health your body has pre-wired for movement, what can you do? There are a few obvious answers like: take your breaks outside and go for a walk; stretch often; get a standup desk so you can mix it up; and the one that many offices already incorporate, an ergonomic chair.

The thing is that most of these chairs, while very adjustable, are extremely static once they're adjusted. There is no proper setting for access to motion. Even the yoga ball, which is great, has the limitation of instability and adjustability for one’s unique needs.

But, guess what? I found it: THE chair. It incorporates the brilliance of the yoga ball with some witty and fun architecture that allows for a multitude of adjustments to create a unique experience for each sitter.

AND, the inventor is local. AND the chair is currently handmade locally. AND he just won a local pitch award. How cool-guy next door can you get folks?

The Språng Chair is lovingly made in Brattleboro by Darren Mark, a desk jockey by day for a Keene-based business. By night he is a full-fledged mad scientist, inventor and entrepreneur who just recently received his official stamped and government-blessed patent for the Språng Chair. Check out his awesome video for a little history, some street-tests and a great local review from chiropractor, Dr. Rich Gorsuch of Keene at sprangchair.com.

While many of Mark’s chairs have already been sold internationally, he is always looking for creative ways to market, produce and improve the current model. Recently, he was the recipient of a regional investment award from a local crew of bikers/investors (truly a thing!) called “Road Pitch.” He will pitch again in the second round with other regional winners for the grand prize of $5,000, as well as access to many resources a new business idea needs to fully flourish (roadpitch.co/about).

So, of course I bought one and here’s what I have to say....

The SprångChair pretty elegantly follows the simple design of the human body. It, too, is complex in its creation, but there isn't anything there that's not necessary. It allows for constant motion while sitting, and enough adjustments to address any particular need on any given day. There is even a setting on the back-rest that almost acts as a massage! Take that yoga ball!

Sit pretty my active desk-jockeying friends.

Jazmin Kellis Henkel is a former Muscular Therapist, Postural Assessment & Movement Coach and self-care guru to professional athletes and active types all over the country. She is also a freelance writer and is dedicated to writing about living life in pursuit of the "crazy" dreams – not in the shadow of them. She lives in Keene with her husband and son.