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"Sit" redirects here. For other uses, see Sit (disambiguation).
This article is about sitting in its general sense. For information about Zen sitting meditation, see Zazen.
Sitzender Junge ("Sitting boy") by Werner Stötzer, 1956
The Japanese tea ceremony is performed sitting in seiza.
Girl sitting on a chair.
Women reclining in chairs. Painting by Jean-François de Troy.

Sitting is a rest position supported by the buttocks or thighs where the torso is more or less upright.

The origins of the position are in dispute. Although many art pieces of Antiquity show individuals in various stages of sitting, it is thought that it did not become common practice until well into the 19th Century.[1] Henri, Count of Chambord claimed to have invented sitting in 1834, but much like his alleged seven day reign as King of France, many challenge the veracity of the claim.[2]


Sitting on the floor[edit]

The most common way of sitting on the floor involves bending the knees. One can also sit with the legs unbent, using something solid as support for the back or leaning on one's arms.

Sitting with bent legs can be done along two major lines; one with the legs mostly parallel and one where they cross each other. The parallel position is reminiscent of, and is sometimes used for, kneeling. The latter is a common pose for meditating. One variation that is highly unusual is the 'chicken wing' style. One would have their legs outwards facing backwards instead of folding them in front of them-self.

Parallel legs[edit]


"Turkish style" redirects here. For the musical style that was occasionally used by the European composers of the Classical music era, see Turkish music (style).

Sitting on a raised seat[edit]

A man sitting in Brooklyn, New York.
Back of a sitting nude by school of Rembrandt.

Most raised surfaces at the appropriate height can be used as seats for humans, whether they are made for the purpose, such as chairs, stools and benches, or not. While the buttocks are nearly always rested on the raised surface, there are many differences in how one can hold one's legs and back.

There are two major styles of sitting on a raised surface. The first has one or two of the legs in front of the sitting person; in the second, sitting astride something, the legs incline outwards on either side of the body.

The feet can rest on the floor, or on a footrest, which can keep them vertical, horizontal, or at an angle in between. They can also dangle if the seat is sufficiently high. Legs can be kept right to the front of the body, spread apart, or one crossed over the other.

The upper body can be held upright, recline to either side or backwards, or one can lean forward.


Alice, the protagonist of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is representative of children who were once admonished to "sit up straight." [4]

Recent studies indicate, however, that sitting upright for hours causes increased stress on the back, and may be a cause of chronic back pain. Researchers have found that a "135-degree back-thigh sitting posture" was the best posture to avoid back problems—that is, leaning back in the chair 45 degrees. Researchers found that the 90-degree position contributed most to strain on the spine, neck included, while the 135-degree position was the most relaxed.[5]

Optimal posture while sitting is now referred to as neutral spine.[6]


Variations of the above include an aside variant with the legs resting above and beside the armrests, or the anti-authoritarian posture of reversing the chair and one's legs in front of the back of the chair.

Kneeling chairs[edit]

The Kneeling chair (often just referred to as "ergonomic chairs"), was designed to encourage better posture than the conventional chair. To sit in a kneeling chair one rests one's buttocks on the upper sloping pad and rests the front of the lower legs atop the lower pad, i.e., the human position as both sitting and kneeling at the same time.


In various mythologies and folk magic, sitting is a magical act that connects the person who sits, with other persons, states or places where he/she sat.[7]

Sitting defecation posture[edit]

The sitting defecation posture involves sitting with hips and knees at approximately right angles, as on a chair. Most Western-style flush toilets are designed to be used with a sitting posture.[8] The sitting posture is more widespread in the Western world, and less common in the developing world. Toilet seats are a recent development, only coming into widespread use in the nineteenth century.[9]

Health effects[edit]

Spending many hours sitting each day is related to raised mortality and CVD risk regardless of total physical activity. Inflammatory and metabolic risk factors partly explain this relationship.[10]

Our whole body is put at risk with prolonged sitting. When an individual is kept in an unnatural seated position for extended periods of time, their body starts to wear. Furthermore, the longer they remain in the upright position, the more at risk they are for injury. However, individuals can lower their risk by changing the way they sit, what they’re sitting on, and giving their body additional support with something as simple as a footrest. Some exercises, such as those seen in the book "Sit Sense", are designed to help attenuate the harmful effects of sitting. Some physical effects that computer users can experience are restricted blood flow to their muscles, such as neck, shoulders, upper limbs, and lower back.[11] The concerns of overusing the computer are becoming so real that studies show just how the body deteriorates with prolonged sitting. The five major areas that have been studied are organ damage, muscle degeneration, leg disorders, unclear mindset, and bad back.

Prolonged sitting can cause organ damage because diseases such as heart disease have an easier way to penetrate your body. With limited movement, muscles burn less fat; furthermore the blood flows more sluggishly during the prolonged period, then giving fatty acids even more opportunity to easily clog the heart. Moreover, it has been shown that prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, and people with the most inactive time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than others with the least.[12]

Muscle degeneration is at also risk with prolonged sitting. One of the most underrated parts of your body are your hips. The hips allow you to keep balanced, however in the case of prolonged sitting, there is no available time to stretch your hip flexors. Rather, the hip flexors become shorter and tighter. Your future can be affected by this “action” of prolonged sitting because studies have shown that decreased hip mobility is one of the main reasons elderly people fall.[12]

Leg disorders come with lack of movement during prolonged sitting. When individuals do not partake in activities such as walking and running, they lose the chance to engage hip and lower-body bones to grow thicker, denser, and stronger. These three factors can prevent diseases such as osteoporosis, which has been on the rise, and doctors credit this fact to the prolonged sitting at a computer.[12]

Additionally, brain functioning can be increased with more activity. The less active an individual is, the more foggy their brain becomes. With breaks of running or walking or anything that gets your heart rate up and blood flowing with aid your brain to function at its highest level.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mango, ed., C. (1972). The Art of the Byzantine Empire, 312-1453 A.D. Inglewoods Cliffs. p. 371. 
  2. ^ Saucier, Corinne L. (1943). History of Avoyelles Parish. p. 143. 
  3. ^ "The Art of the Cut". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Alice In Wonderland - The Victorian World". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  5. ^ "Sitting straight 'bad for backs'". BBC News. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Čajkanović, Veselin; Živković, Marko (translator) (1996). "Magical Sitting". Anthropology of East Europe Review 14 (1). Retrieved 2007-07-09. "It is obvious from all the above that sitting, seen from the viewpoint of the history of religion, could be a magical act which, within the framework of analogic magic, will establish a certain relationship, a covenant." 
  8. ^ Sikirov, Dov, MD (1990): "Cardio-vascular events at defecation: are they unavoidable?" Medical Hypotheses, 1990, Jul; 32(3): 231-3.
  9. ^ A History of Technology, Vol.IV: The Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850. (C. Singer, E Holmyard, A Hall, T. Williams eds) Oxford Clarendon Press, pps. 507-508, 1958
  10. ^ Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, MSc, BSc*,*, Mark Hamer, PhD, MSc, BSc* and David W. Dunstan, PhD, BAppSc, Screen-Based Entertainment Time, All-Cause Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events J Am Coll Cardiol, 2011; 57:292-299
  11. ^ Subratty, Ah; Korumtollee (2005). "Occupational overuse syndrome among keyboard users in Mauritius". Indian Journal of Occupationa and Environmental Medicine 9 (2): 71. 
  12. ^ a b c Berjowitz, Bonnie; Patterson Clark (January 20, 2014). "The health hazards of sitting". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 

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