Many of us have begun to rethink our daily routines and fitness habits, with the recent closure of gyms due to the pandemic more and more people are looking to bring fitness into their homes. For most of us we do not have spare rooms that we can convert into home gyms.
So, we are looking for ways to incorporate fitness into our lives in a more subtle way. Giving our bodies the attention they deserve. A study carried out by heart matters revealed that an adult sits for approximately 9.5 hours a day meaning many of us are living a sedentary lifestyle.
The term refers to a group of behaviours that occur when sitting or lying down while awake and that typically require low energy expenditure. Examples include sitting while at work, home or school; watching television; using a computer or playing video games (unless it is ‘active’ gaming, such as Wii Fit); reading; sitting while socialising with friends or family; and sitting in a car or bus.
Sleeping, pushing yourself in a wheelchair and doing chair-based exercises are not classed as sedentary.
Since the pandemic there is a rise in people purchasing active seating. While it won’t give you the full gym experience many models will help you to improve posture, promote movement and activate your core while sitting helping you to strengthen and tone muscle. In tandem with a standing desk it allows you to find the perfect combination of sitting and standing throughout the day.
Let’s talk about benefits that come with using office chairs that promote active sitting.
Note that some benefits can only be gained by chair users who proactively participate in the movement that each chair allows for:
INCREASE CORE STRENGTH
Chairs that assist the user with active sitting provide core strengthening opportunity. In other words, the user is working lower and upper abdominal muscles, the back and shoulder muscles, and the lateral muscles that cross over the rib cage and down towards the hips.
If an office worker is sitting in a traditional chair, he or she would have to pull their backs away from the chair and sit upright without back support in order to work core muscles.
ENCOURAGES CONSTANT MOVING
As opposed to prolonged inactivity, chairs that encourage active sitting directly encourage constant motion. It’s not like you will be physically running laps at your desk.
Instead, think about active sitting constantly activating muscles, which for stabilizing posture doesn’t look like much movement at all.
Our bodies were not designed for several hours of sitting, rather our muscles and joints were made for motion.
The immediate benefit of core strengthening is overall better posture. While sitting in a standard chair, our bodies gradually get tired so we naturally slide down causing our spine to form a c-shape.
A c-shape forces our hips backwards and our shoulders and neck forwards which can cause pain, additional weakness and fatigue, joint stiffness, and nerve impingement.
Active sitting does not replace the calories burned during regular exercise. However, active sitting still burns a few calories that an employee would not by sitting still all day.
Burning a small number of calories also tells the body that the metabolism is still at work, which means energy is being produced for the body as well as the brain.
LESS PRONE TO BACK PAIN
With the combination of improved posture and core strengthening, active sitting makes the user less prone to back pain that’s associated with prolonged sitting.
IMPROVED CIRCULATION AND CONCENTRATION
Active sitting promotes consistent muscle contraction, which forces blood through muscle tissue and throughout the rest of the body.
This means that oxygenated blood cells are pumped throughout the body, rejuvenating the body and the mind.
A study conducted in Sweden evaluated the benefits of an active centered tilt mechanism in a chair as compared to an inactive mechanism for office workers. In other words, a dynamic sitting chair versus a standard chair.
Results revealed that participants who used the dynamic sitting chair performed an equivalent of “light physical activity” while sitting (Grooten, 2014).
Merritt and Merritt (2007) examined the typical gym ball being used as a chair for relieving lower back pain.
Results showed that, although much controversy and lack of research revolves around using the gym ball in fitness and rehabilitation setting, a gym ball has great potential for creating movement enough to reduce back pain in a prolonged sitting position.
Children who struggle with focusing while sitting in regular chairs show increased attention for school tasks while sitting in chairs that get them moving. Imagine the implications for adults and attention in the office environment!
FACTORS TO FIND THE PERFECT ACTIVE SEATING
- Is it easy to assemble? Easy assembly — or no assembly at all — is definitely a plus. The easier it is to assemble, the more quickly you'll be able to start using your new office chair.
- How much cushioning do you want? How much cushioning you need will depend on how often you want to use active seating — if you plan on switching back and forth between active seating and your normal office chair you may not need as much.
- Is it height adjustable? This is especially important if you plan on using a standing desk, or a transitional desk that can go from sitting to standing, so it can be compatible with both.
- How much space will it take up? If you don't have much space to spare, or you travel often and want to take your seat with you, you may want to consider a collapsible or portable style of active seating that you can store when you're not using, and that's easy to pack.
WHAT IS THE BEST ACTIVE SEATING FOR ME?
- Best overall: BackApp Chair
- Best to save space: DeskBike M
- Best for a standing desk: Varier Move Chair
- Best on a budget: Ongo Seat
- Best for backpain: Variable Balans Kneeling Chair
Shop online or why not come into our Dublin City Centre showroom and try our active seating range for yourself. Our Showroom is still open as we are an essential service. Bookings are by appointment only and can be made by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or using the live chat feature on our website.