Work Wellness

What Is Active Sitting? A Guide for Chair, Posture & Movement

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Oct 21, 2021
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Sitting for extended periods seems to bring forth the notion of two polar opposite ideas. Some say it wears your body down, and others think that it does no damage at all. 

The same seems to be valid with active seating. What is active sitting, you may ask? 

It's a necessary revolutionary fad that is helping office workers survive long work hours. Most people experience less pain and more productivity when adopting the active sitting regime. When including standing desk exercises into their workday, it also showed excellent results. 

Today we discuss how active sitting can benefit you and what exactly is meant by active sitting. This sitting style has proved to help people who are sitting for a prolonged period at a desk. 

What Is Active Sitting?

What Is Active Sitting

Studies have shown that exercise is only slightly effective in helping combat a long workday. Spending eight hours at a desk takes a lot more than one hour in the gym could replace. It would be best if you adopted a new sitting style to help improve your posture and well-being. 

Workers could experience back pain, abdominal weakness, spinal deformities (hunched posture), neck pain, pinched nerves, spinal disc degeneration, reduced blood circulation, and much more. 

These ailments are the leading causes of injury in office workers. 

Dynamic sitting, also known as active sitting, refers to actively using some muscles while seated. That could mean your legs, abdomen, and back are engaged while seated on your ergonomic stool

A standing desk active sitting stool, treadmills, bouncy balls, and ergonomic chairs could help create an excellent movement strategy. However, some office tasks require sitting for long periods. 

Remaining entirely motionless for 10 hours can be detrimental to one's health. Adopting the active sitting style allows individuals to make minor changes to their seated patterns to keep muscles busy. 

The Benefits of Active Sitting

Many profound benefits come with using an office chair that promotes active sitting. Using the chair and its added features helps regain control of muscles you might not have used in a while. It is good to note that benefits are only seen by proactive users who participate in the movement regime. 

Increased Core Strength

A standing desk stool may assist people who suffer from weak abdominal strength. It does this by helping the user with core strengthening opportunities through active sitting. In layman's terms, the person is working upper and lower abdominal muscles while seated. 

Besides your abdomen getting worked, you can feel it in your shoulders, back muscles, and the lateral rib cage muscles that permeate down to the hips. 

Sitting in chairs requires that you pull your back straight up to work core muscles. That removes you from the backrest and eliminates the support that it provides you.  

Later on, you are going to learn how this looks in chairs that promote active sitting. 

Encourages Constant Moving

active sitting Encourages Constant Moving

Active sitting chairs directly encourage constant motion through intuitive design. Don't expect to be running laps around your desk. It is just subtle movements that help you stay upright and keep the muscle engaged. 

Instead, think about it like, stabilizing your posture while maintaining constant small active movements. It helps to engage muscles so that you aren't continuously sitting still in one place. 

The human body has joints and muscles made for motion. Sitting for several hours causes way more harm than good. 

Improved Posture

Strengthening the core provides some immediate benefits. The main advantage would be a better overall posture due to increased abdominal strength. When you sit in a standard chair, fatigue enters our bodies, so we end up sliding down. That causes the spine to bend unnaturally and eventually forms a c-shape. 

This shape forces our neck and shoulders forward and our hips backward. It can cause immense pain and pressure in the lumbar region. Many other issues come with incorrect postures, such as nerve impingement, joint stiffness, additional weakness, and fatigue. 

Burn Calories

active sitting Burn Calories

It doesn't mean you can skip the gym, so do take it that far, please. Active sitting cannot burn as many calories as your regular exercise routine. However, employees who engage in active sitting do burn a few more calories than non-active sitters. 

When your body burns a few calories, it reminds the body that the metabolism must still work. That produces additional energy for your brain as well as the body. 

Less Prone To Back Pain

With the combination of a strengthened core and improved posture, users are less prone to back pain. Remember, prolonged sitting is most commonly associated with incorrect seating arrangements. 

Improved Concentration and Circulation

active sitting Improved Concentration and Circulation

Consistent muscle contraction is promoted by active sitting. That forces blood throughout the body and into muscle tissues. Oxygenated blood cells travel throughout the body to help rejuvenate the mind and physical well-being. 

Active Sitting Research

There was a study conducted in Sweden that examined the benefits of active sitting. It used an active tilt mechanism versus an inactive one. In other words, it was a standard chair versus a dynamic or active desk chair. 

Individuals who used the dynamic sitting chair were monitored. The research showed that they performed the equivalent of a light physical workout while seated. 

Researchers also examined a typical gym ball. It was said to be a good seating arrangement to help relieve lower back pain

Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding using a gym ball for a chair, it proved to reduce back pain in extended periods of sitting. It can also help in the rehabilitation setting as well as for fitness. 

The study discusses how young children can benefit through active learning. Making use of a bouncy ball chair helped them to keep their minds sharp. 

Kids who couldn't focus while sitting in a standard desk chair showed vast improvement when using the active sitting style. The increased attention was seen among many students, with some schools even adopting the seating style permanently. 

Imagine the benefits for adults and their attention in the workplace. 

Active Seating Options

There are many options on the market today that encourage active sitting. It can be challenging to choose the right one, so be sure to consider your weight and height when deciding. 

Remember, active seating is going to help increase your core strength and improve your posture. Getting used to some of the core elements of active sitting might feel like a pain in the butt. Learning these things is the first step to regaining your mobility. 

Kneeling Chairs

Kneeling Chairs for active sitting

These active desk chairs tilt an individual slightly forward. That means that generally, there is no back support on the seat. The sitter's core muscles are engaged due to the unsupported tilt feature. It aids in developing core strength without the user having to think about it. 

Your feet are tucked under the chair while your knees rest on a cushion. That helps keep the knee and hip angle open to increase circulation. Before purchasing one, please consider the kneeling chair's pros and cons. 

Ergonomic Chairs

ErgoChair core

There are many ergonomic active desk chairs on the market, but some of the best ones come from Autonomous. The company is well known for its meticulously designed ergonomic equipment. 

The ErgoChair Core is an entry-level ergonomic chair that is comfier than your couch. It has a fully adjustable lumbar support system that can provide you with full spinal cradling. The seat oozes quality while remaining aesthetically pleasing.  

There is full adjustability of the armrests and headrest, making it easy to get the stability you need. A mesh backrest makes things cool on humid summer days so that you can work a few hours extra. 

If you want to take it one step further, investing in the ErgoChair Pro could genuinely benefit you. 

ErgoChair Pro+

ErgoChair Pro

There are two versions of this ergonomic masterpiece. The second version is the ErgoChair Pro+ that delivers the same excellence as the Pro version.  

Both chairs offer superior support and comfort while being fully adjustable. If you are looking for value for money, these ergonomic seats are the perfect fit. 

The Pro and Pro+ Active desk chairs have smooth spinal curvature adjustment, which moves with you. It's based on movement adapting to changes you make in your seating arrangement. 

By choosing one of these active sitting chairs, you are going to own the epitome of ergonomic excellence. Easing your back pain while maintaining a correct seating posture is the winning strategy in the office environment, 

Leaning Stools

This is one of the active sitting chairs you should know. Using a leaning stool allows a person to lean safely forward towards their desk. It has a mechanism that provides stability and support when you need it most. 

The mechanism works core muscles which in turn leads to a great posture. However, users still need to be proactive to gain the benefits of a leaning active sitting stool. 

Balance Balls

Balance Balls

Balance Balls helps to keep your posture upright while strengthening the core. It is one of the active sitting chairs you should have. Of course, there is no back support, but that is what helps keep you upright. 

Additionally, users can add a slight shift or bounce that can challenge their balance. That helps keep circulation flowing in the legs and thighs. It also provides some workouts for the legs and hips. 

Perching Stools

If you are halfway between standing and sitting, you are most definitely using a perching active sitting stool. Your hip, leg, core, and back muscles must be engaged to maintain a solid perched position. 

Wobble Chairs

Wobble chairs balance on a half-sphere which allows the user to rock back and forth. Much like the ErgoStool, these seats are perfect for keeping your core muscles in check. Besides core, the users have to use hip and leg muscles to stay actively balanced. 

An active sitting stool like this is a worthwhile investment for any office worker. 

Saddle Chairs

Saddle Chairs for active sitting

Sitting in this chair feels like you are saddling a horse. The ergonomic saddle chair is comfortable but might not be for everyone. 

Most saddles chairs have height adjustment features, adding to their ergonomic quality. Hip and knee angles are kept open, which helps promote healthy circulation. You can maintain a forward stance or go with the traditional saddle seating arrangement. 

Active Sitting Exercises

Besides only sitting in chairs, you also need to do some exercises to boost active status. The importance of doing your part while at work is imperative to your health and well-being. Try to remain proactive while working to increase your likelihood to achieve great things. 

Keep yourself active and moving with the following exercises: 

Seated Exercises

Move those abdominal muscles, legs, and hips while seated in your chair. Some examples include butt crunches, lifting your knees one at a time towards your desk, and lifting each foot off the ground tracing the alphabet. 

These exercises should be carried out every 30 to 45 minutes. If you can perform them more often, you can feel a difference after the first few days. 

Stretches

Stretches

Whether you are standing or sitting, purposely stretching your joints is essential. It helps you remain supple and healthy in and out of the office. The joints that ache the most after a long day sitting must receive the most attention.  

Repositioning

Checking your position every few minutes and readjusting can help improve posture and check your active seating. It can also help prevent unnecessary joint pain due to unorthodox sitting positions. 

Sitting Breaks

Taking breaks is vital for anyone who works long hours at a desk. Getting up and taking a walk around every 20 minutes or so helps increase circulation in the body. Healthy circulation leads to a better mood and higher productivity. 

Doing a few pushes up now and then never hurt anyone either. Circulation to the arms and chest is essential for people who are spending a lot of time typing. 

Conclusion

When you add an active sitting chair or active seating to your work routine, you start to notice the difference almost immediately. It is not a drastic lifestyle change and can be adopted by nearly anyone. 

By including minor modifications to your seating arrangement, you can transform your health. It is up to you to take charge of your future and buy an ergonomic chair to better your well-being. 

Today is the day you take the first step in eliminating back pain and boosting your productivity.

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