Sitting for prolonged periods has become an unfortunate reality for many of us in the modern workplace. Whether in an office, working from home, or even on the go, we spend more time sitting in front of screens and less time moving. This sedentary lifestyle can seriously affect our health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, back and neck pain, and weight gain.
Active sitting is a solution to this problem. Instead of passively sitting in a chair, active sitting encourages movement and engagement of the core muscles.
In this article, we will discuss active sitting and its benefits, provide examples, and give tips on practicing it at work. We will also review some of the best active sitting chair options on the market and how they could help you to switch between sitting and standing.
The goal of this article is to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to include active sitting in your routine and improve your overall well-being and performance at work.
What Is Active Sitting?
Active sitting is a term used to describe a posture or seating position that encourages movement and engagement of the core muscles. In contrast to traditional sitting, where a chair or other surface passively supports the body, active sitting requires using the muscles in the back, abdomen, and legs to maintain an upright position.
There are several different types of active seating options available, including active sitting chairs, stools, and balance balls.
These options typically have a curved or unstable base that encourages the use of the core muscles to maintain balance. They may also have adjustable features such as footrests, lumbar support, and armrests to promote proper posture and alignment.
This type of sitting is about your chair and how you use it. Taking breaks, changing positions, and moving around are essential.
Active sitting can help to reduce the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, but it's important to note that you should not see it as a replacement for standing or walking breaks throughout the day. Regular movement and exercise are essential for overall health and well-being.
The Benefits of Active Sitting
Active sitting has several benefits, including:
- Improved posture and spinal alignment: Sitting in a chair that encourages the use of the core muscles can help improve posture and align the spine, reducing the risk of back and neck pain and improving overall comfort.
- Increased blood flow: It can increase blood flow throughout the body, which can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve your health.
- Reduced risk of back and neck pain: Functional sitting can help to reduce the risk of back and neck pain by promoting proper posture and alignment. It also helps to engage the core muscles, which can help to strengthen the back and neck muscles.
- Increased core and leg strength: Better sitting requires using the core and leg muscles to keep upright. This can help improve strength and endurance in these muscles, improving overall fitness and health.
- Improved mental focus and productivity: Active sitting can help to improve mental focus and productivity. This is because it encourages movement and engagement of the core muscles, which can help to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
It is important to note that kinetic sitting is not a replacement for regular exercise but can significantly complement an active lifestyle. Including it in your work routine can improve your health while working.
Examples of Active Seating
Several ergonomic seating options are available to those looking to include dynamic seating in their workplace. These include:
Active sitting chairs
These chairs have a curved or unstable base that encourages using the core muscles to keep your composure. It might be the best thing to buy an ergonomic chair since it has adjustable features such as footrests, lumbar support, and armrests to promote proper posture and alignment. Some examples of active sitting chairs include the Autonomous ErgoChair Plus and the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro.
Active sitting stool
An active sitting stool is similar to a chair but typically has a smaller seat and no backrest. This design encourages using the core muscles to maintain a centered and proper posture. An example of an active ergonomic stool includes the Autonomous ErgoStool.
You can use a large inflatable ball as a flexible active seat option. It promotes movement and engagement of the core muscles to keep you engaged while working. Additionally, they are also great for improving core and leg strength.
It is important to note that in addition to these specialized chairs and stools, you can also adjust traditional office chairs to promote active sitting. Adding a footrest, lumbar support, or an adjustable seat height can encourage proper posture and alignment.
When choosing an active seat unit, it is essential to consider your individual needs and preferences. However, it is also important to compare different product features and adjustability options before deciding. The benefits of ergonomic chairs should be taken into account, as they can support you while working.
How to Practice Active Sitting at Work
Incorporating active sitting in your office can significantly impact your overall health and productivity. Here are a few tips for practicing dynamic sitting and being active at work:
- Take regular standing and walking breaks: While active sitting is beneficial, it's not a substitute for standing and walking pauses. Regular movement and exercise are essential for overall health and well-being.
- Adjust your chair: If you use a traditional office chair, adjust the seat's height and the backrest's angle to promote proper posture and alignment.
- Use a footrest: A footrest can help to promote proper posture and alignment by encouraging the use of the core muscles.
- Sitting vs. standing: Changing between sitting and standing can help to reduce the harmful effects of extended sitting and boost your productivity at work.
- Buy an ergonomic chair: Investing in an ergonomic chair can help to improve comfort and support. The Autonomous ErgoChair Plus is considered the best ergonomic chair one can purchase. It offers a variety of flexible options to ensure optimal posture and support.
- Use an active sitting stool: An ergonomic stool is an excellent option for those looking for a functional seating option that promotes movement and engagement of the core.
Practicing active sitting can improve many aspects of your life and avoid the negative side effects of sitting all day. It is crucial to find the seating option that best suits your needs and preferences and to move and change positions regularly.
How to Choose the Best Active Seat Option for You?
Choosing the right adjustable seating product can significantly improve your back health and allow you to do your job more efficiently. Here are a few tips for selecting the best ergonomic seat that will benefit you:
Consider the size and adjustability of the chair: Make sure the chair is the right size for you and has adjustable features such as footrests, lumbar support, and armrests to promote proper posture and alignment.
Test the chair before you buy it: Sit in the chair and test its adjustability and features to ensure they fit your needs. If purchasing a chair online, make sure the company accepts returns.
Choose the correct chair, stool, or balance ball type: Consider your specific needs and preferences. Some people prefer a chair with a backrest, while others prefer a stool or balance ball.
Properly maintain and care for your active seating chair: Regularly check for wear and tear and make adjustments to keep the chair's proper function and comfort.
Active Sitting vs. Standing Desks
Active sitting and standing desks are both popular options for reducing the harmful effects of extended sitting in the workplace. Here's a comparison of the benefits of each:
- Active sitting: Encourages movement and engagement of the core muscles, improves posture and spinal alignment, increases blood flow, and reduces the risk of back and neck pain.
- Standing desks: Reduces the amount of time spent sitting, improves circulation, burns more calories, and reduces the risk of obesity and related health problems.
Both active sitting and standing desks have their benefits and can be used to improve your health in the office. The best approach is combining active sitting and standing into your work routine. This way, you can take advantage of the benefits of each.
When choosing between an active sitting or standing workstation, it would be best to consider your individual needs and preferences. If you have back or neck problems or are recovering from an injury, it's recommended to start with active sitting. As you get stronger and more comfortable, you can consider incorporating a standing desk.
It's also important to remember that active sitting and standing desks should be combined with regular movement and exercise and adjusted to your needs and comfort.
Stretches and Exercises to Do While Sitting
Sitting for long periods can cause stiffness and muscle tension, leading to discomfort and pain. Stretches and exercises can help alleviate these symptoms and improve overall health and well-being.
There are several stretches and exercises that you can do while sitting, such as:
- Shoulder rolls: Roll your shoulders forward and backward to release tension in the upper back and shoulders.
- Neck stretches: Tilt your head to the left, right, and center to release tension in the neck.
- Seated spinal twists: Twist your torso to the left and right to release tension in the lower back.
- Seated leg stretches: Stretch your legs out in front of you and then raise and lower your heels to release tension in the legs.
- Seated ankle rotations: Rotate your ankles in a circle to release tension in the feet and ankles.
By stretching and exercising, you will not feel uncomfortable sitting on your chair and doing your tasks. Using a seating model such as a balance ball or stool can also enhance the effectiveness of these stretches and exercises.
Additionally, you must consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing pain or discomfort to ensure that the exercises are appropriate for your specific needs and condition.
How to Create an Ergonomic Workstation
Creating an ergonomic workstation is vital if you want to work comfortably. Here are a few tips for creating an ergonomic workstation:
- Position your computer and other equipment to promote proper posture and alignment.
- Adjust the height and angle of your monitor, keyboard, and mouse to avoid straining your eyes and neck.
- Use a comfortable and supportive chair, like an ergonomic chair, to promote proper posture and alignment.
- Take regular breaks and adjust your posture daily to reduce fatigue and discomfort.
- Reduce glare and eye strain by positioning your monitor away from windows and using a glare filter.
It's essential to consider your specific needs and preferences and make adjustments as needed to ensure optimal convenience and support.
Tips for Setting Reminders to Take Standing and Walking Breaks
One of the key ways to reduce the time of sitting all day is to take regular standing and walking breaks throughout the day. Setting reminders ensures that you are taking these breaks at regular intervals. Here are a few tips for setting reminders to take standing and walking breaks:
- Use your calendar or a scheduling app to set reminders for standing and walking breaks throughout the day.
- Get a timer or alarm clock to remind you to take a break every hour.
- Use a wearable fitness device or a phone app to track your activity levels and remind you to take a break when sitting for too long.
- Take a break after completing a specific task or after a certain amount of time has passed.
- Use a standing or treadmill desk to remind you to take breaks by alternating between sitting and standing positions.
It's also important to note that taking a break every hour or so and standing for a few minutes is beneficial. Also, taking a short walk, or even just stretching, can help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of muscle and joint pain risk.
It is important to note that active sitting is not a replacement for regular exercise but can significantly complement an active lifestyle.
Active sitting is essential to maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle, and it's important to consider incorporating it into your daily routine. A suitable functional seating unit can improve your posture, reduce your back and neck pain risk, increase your blood flow, and improve your well-being.
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