What do you think of when you hear the term “active chair?” it may sound a little confusing, since to the best of your knowledge chairs shouldn't be moving on their own, right? "Active chair" makes it sound as if there is some kind of sentient chair in the world.
Thankfully, technology isn't quite there yet, as that is a bit of a scary thought. However, the idea of movement has a lot to do with the design. It's just that you would be the one controlling it.
The principle goes beyond the adjustment capabilities of your standard ergonomic office chair, allowing you to engage certain muscle groups as you work. A sedentary lifestyle creates a huge issue, especially in the musculoskeletal department. However, many office workers seemingly have no choice, so what are they expected to do?
Well, an active seating option can be the perfect solution, and the information presented here is intended to illustrate exactly how that works. Not only do you get to find out more about the principle, but you also get a high-level overview of eight amazing active office chair designs that tie into all that's being said.
What Is Active Sitting?
Active sitting comes from the well-known and scientifically researched ideals that confirm exercise’s ability to offset the dangers of sitting. However, exercising after a completely seated day only partially offsets the problem. Something needs to be done during the workday, and an active sitting chair is intended to allow for that.
By implementing small increments of movement while working, workers can alleviate certain well-documented issues, including spinal deformities, pinched nerves, disc degradation, blood circulation issues, back pain, and the like.
These active desk chair options go hand-in-hand with the standing desk culture that is slowly easing its way into the office space to help with this problem. Still, the human body isn't meant to stand for hours on end, which is why sit-stand sessions are necessary. However, the idea is to use an active sitting chair instead of your standard office seat.
Active Sitting Guide
So, now that you know what active sitting is, how are you expected to embrace it? Well, it just so happens that there is a guide here to help teach you how to make your active office chair a part of your lifestyle. After all, whether you're in a traditional or remote office, you're a person before you are an employee.
You can't allow your health to be consistently ruined for the sake of work. There is no need to overcomplicate the concept, as all you need to know is how long to remain in your seated position and the benefits associated with using your ergonomic stool.
After all, the seating designs handle much of the other nuances, such as offering appropriate movement ranges and exercise capabilities, so there is no need for you to be too concerned with that.
Choosing a Seat
Not all active seating methods allow for micro-movements during the workday. While this does not mean that they are necessarily bad, it is an indication that you can't take advantage of movement ranges for muscular engagement like you can with some other models.
So, you often want to choose something that allows you to either wobble, swivel, bounce, etc. You are trying to avoid static seating, after all.
How Long to Sit
The timing here is not too far removed from that which is associated with your standard ergonomic chair. The general rule of thumb is that you don't want to be standing or seated for an obscenely long period. However, active sitting methods have a way more forgiving period than your standard office chair would.
What you could do is use the functionality of an alarm or a timer to alert you when it's time to switch. For example, you could use 20-minute intervals. So, you would stand for 20 minutes, then you could sit for 20 minutes.
Some people are a lot less comfortable with sitting and standing for even periods, so another suggestion is to ensure that you get 20 minutes of standing per hour of sitting. Once you do that, you shouldn't have too much of a problem.
Of course, when you are in your active seating phase, you want to take advantage of the range of motion and exercise capabilities that your selected seat provides.
Certainly, you can infer what some of these are by now, based on what you've seen so far. However, there is value in clearly stating why active seating methods would be beneficial to you.
First, there is the encouragement of consistent movement. This may sound quite uncomfortable, and it may even come off as a drawback rather than a benefit. However, you want to bear in mind that the human body is made for movement, so anything that encourages this is going to be seen as beneficial.
Second, you get to ramp up on your core strength, which makes you more functional in other areas of life. Your core is essential to more simple movements than you know, so you should never overestimate the value of having a powerful one.
Next, while you aren't burning the same number of calories that you would in a traditional workout, you are still managing to burn some as you are sitting and working out to a lesser degree. It makes for better balance and should help you improve your metabolism over time too!
There is also the matter of circulation, which can be severely affected by standard seating models. The position of your legs allows your circulatory system to work as intended consistently.
Finally, you reduce the amount of back pain you deal with, thanks to a combination of a couple of the advantages alluded to above.
Note that this is by no means an exhaustive look at the upsides of transitioning to a standing desk stool, but you likely got a very clear picture of what active sitting can do for you and why it is something you want to give more than a second look.
Active Sitting Chair List
Now, it's time to dive into the proverbial good stuff! At this point, you have an undoubtedly clear picture of why you would want a sit-stand stool or another active sitting method in your workspace. However, as obscure as the principle may be to some people, there are numerous out there.
The eight active chairs below represent some of the best that you can find today, so the expectation is that by the time you are done reading, you can comfortably choose one without suffering any post-purchase cognitive dissonance.
1. Autonomous ErgoStool
Right off the bat, the list starts with the best of the bunch, which is none other than the Autonomous ErgoStool. It's intended to be used with a standing desk model, such as an Autonomous SmartDesk, as one of the center points of your sit-stand sessions.
As you are breaking from standing, you take a seat at a near-perfect angle, and take advantage of the wobble functionality to burn some calories and keep your body engaged. There is a 10-inch height adjustment range, an ergonomic sloped seat, and support for up to 270 pounds.
Additionally, the base of this active chair offers great traction on a variety of surfaces, so there is no need to worry about slipping or tumbling over as you wobble around.
2. ErgoErgo Chair
The ErgoErgo is another tremendous active chair option, looking something like a slinky with a bit more meat on its bones. It's an incredibly springy chair though, so it requires a bit more focus to keep it steady than some of the other models demand.
When used well, you are engaging your muscles, improving your blood flow, and having an all-around good time. If you have little ones, then you are probably going to be happy to know that there is a kid-size too!
3. Swopper Stool
Like the Autonomous ErgoStool, the Swopper Stool by VIA is another ergonomic active office chair that allows you to wobble around. The base covers a lot less surface area though, but it's still sturdy enough to allow you to shift your weight effectively.
One of the manufacturer’s objectives was simplicity in operation, and that was achieved to a tremendous degree. Yes, the appearance makes it look overly complicated, but if you decide to give it a try, there is quite the experience hidden underneath.
The only downside of this active stool is that the assembly is likely to give you quite a bit of trouble.
4. Gaiam Balance Ball Chair
Exercise balls in the office space as active seating methods are nothing new. However, turning the idea into a chair is very much a fresh idea. Gaiam is a leading exercise ball manufacturer, so the brand is not new to the industry by any means.
However, this newer design features a chair-like frame that allows the exercise ball to rest in the middle. There is a small measure of lumbar support at the back, and the centerpiece being an exercise ball allows you to strengthen your core by maintaining your balance or actively bouncing around.
5. Zenergy Ball Chair
The Zenergy Ball Chair looks a lot like a balloon, which may give you the impression that it may burst at any time. Rest assured that such a thing is unlikely to happen, as the manufacturer specifically went for an anti-burst design.
The idea here is for you to learn to sit with better posture. It has four small legs as contact points with the ground, so there is no need for you to worry about the amount of traction you are getting. The only downside of this active stool is that the movement and exercise capabilities with this one are quite limited.
6. Mogo Portable Seat
Hip rotation is one area in which a lot of active seating methods drop the ball. It's nice to work your core and balance, but stiff hips can develop if they are not taking advantage of the range of motion that they need.
The Mogo Portable Seat is specifically designed to address this concern, by allowing you to stretch key muscles as you support your posture. Additionally, pressure points of this active desk chair are cushioned to prevent the pain you may feel as you sit.
7. Buoy Active Sitting Task Chair
The electrical design used here makes this active chair incredibly attractive. It spins and it bobs, giving a feeling reminiscent of the ocean. Well, the waves are the inspiration for this design, and Buoy proved that it's possible to capture that kind of natural and fluid movement in the form of something to sit on.
You probably wouldn't expect to hear wobbly and stable in the same sentence, but this active desk chair is wobbly when you want it to be, and stable when it needs to be. Feel free to shift from side to side and all around as you get your work done.
8. Muvman Sit-stand Stool
The Muvman Sit-Stand Stool is the last one on the list, and its claim to fame is striking the perfect balance between being too wobbly and being too stiff. There is a wide base for stability, and the active chair seat’s range of motion is optimized to allow you to get enough movement without having you lose your focus and start getting too much into the “fun.”
Note, however, that this active chair is a bit on the pricier side of the spectrum.
It's no secret that there is a lot to say and a lot to gain from the implementation of active seating in your daily life. Above, you got a very in-depth look at the concept and what you can do to implement it. Furthermore, you should have an intimate understanding of the tremendous sea of benefits that can come from going this route in your traditional or remote workspace.
Additionally, choosing the seat that should then be the catalyst to propel you into this new lifestyle should not be a difficult choice at all, as you have been provided with eight of the best active chair options that you can find today. Yes, it can be a bit tough to acclimate yourself to at first, but once you get into the groove, your body is going to thank you.
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