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We Are Our Surroundings: How Furniture Shapes Your Physical Health

Welcome back to We Are Our Surroundings, a series dedicated to the discussion of how interior design and decor of our homes correlates with our mental health, physical health, and plays a role in what we choose to eat.

Similar to the previous post, when it comes to being in shape, the body is what we see and therefore what we "know". However, how much do we actually know how the body functions and recovers? Furthermore, how much do we know about which pieces of furniture nurtures our bodies and assists us in feeling better physically?

A good piece of furniture can truly change the feel of a home or space. That said, not all furniture are created equal and it's imperative that we not conflate aesthetics with function. Good design is beautiful and functional.

When we sit or rest, our bodies are taking a break from the daily physical demands we place on them. When selecting furniture, we need to keep this in mind because our furniture should then allow rest while also ensuring our bodies stay aligned and properly supported. With our physical health in tact, we're putting our best foot forward daily; looking AND feeling our best. A truly holistic approach. Keep reading for a few tips on how we can make small simple changes today to help our tomorrow.

Think of the body

Everybody is different and every body is different which is why when selecting furniture of any kind, we need to be mindful of our individual bodies and those around us if we're buying for a family. Seats should be comfortable while also keeping shape. Our spines should be supported, hips sitting underneath the shoulders and at a 90 degree angle, shoulders back and not sunken into the seat, and feet flat on the ground. When you get up from the couch, you want to mimic a squat. This will not only transfer over into real life situations, it'll also wake up the glutes after being inactive from sitting.

Think of the height

Low furniture is bad for the knees! If you aren't mobile or aren't strong enough to get up from a squat, furniture that sits below a 90 degree angle of your body will do more harm than good. Conversely, furniture that is too tall also creates a set of issues for the hips. Finding a happy medium can be a challenge when a married couple is shopping for a bed or couch so the best thing to do is to focus on the couch since that is where a large majority of sitting takes place. Another idea is to have side chairs in which cater to each body.

Think of the spacing

When there's too much furniture or when furniture is too close together, the body gets locked into a set way of moving. Having to alter your natural body movement patterns because there's too much furniture will add up over time. A shift of the hips to scoot around the table, having to step over objects, or always having to turn right/left, may not seem like much to the untrained eye but will cause imbalances over a period of time. I see people complain daily about waking up one day with hip pain or back pain and not knowing what happened. We simply don't wake up with pain all of a sudden on one random day, it creeps up on us over an accumulation of poor movement patterns; some from our surroundings and some from how we live life.

Simple changes aren't always simple. Simple also doesn't mean large. Sometimes simple can be a small change and sometimes it can indeed be large but change is healthy. Our interiors shape not only our physical health today, but tomorrow as well. When we move well, we do well and have a seemingly endless amount of energy which makes us better humans to be around. Love yourself and mind your interiors. Stay tuned for how to style a small space.


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