The Art of Active Sitting: How to Stay Active on Your Chair
Here’s an alarming fact according to research: the average American is only ever active for 3 hours every day. The rest of the time, he’s sedentary. Here’s another alarming fact: exercise cannot offset the effect of prolonged sitting. No matter how much exercise we get, our body still suffers if we spend most of our time sitting.
Unfortunately for most people, there is little choice left when it comes to our lifestyle—it’s largely determined by the work that we do. Computer work almost always includes sitting. And if you think about it, that’s 8 hours of sitting every day. If you add the time you spend in front of the television to unwind after work, those hours can accumulate in higher numbers. So are we doomed to prolonged sitting and its ill effects? Luckily, not.
We Can Stay Active as We Sit
This seems like contradictory ideas, but active sitting is actually a growing idea. And, it’s proven to work, too. Of course, it’s not a cure-all solution. But if you practice it together with a healthy lifestyle, then you’re in a better position.
Active sitting simply means staying active even as you sit on your chair, engaging the different core muscles as you sit—your back, shoulders, legs. By doing this, you break the habit of prolonged sitting.
How To Stay Active While Sitting
There are several ways you can stay active while on your chair. Here we share a few ideas to promote active sitting, as well as ways you can include as much movement in your day as you work. Check out the following:
Start with the right chair
Traditional chairs won’t cut it. If you want to have to engage your muscles even without constantly thinking about it, you need chairs that will help you do that.
Ergonomic desk chairs
You have your usual office chairs, your ergonomic chairs, and then your specialized chairs that are designed for active sitting. What separate these chairs from the rest is their versatility, encouraging your body to keep changing in position—lean back or forward, twist, or stretch—according to what your body needs at any given moment.
Standing chairs or stools
These stools encourage perching, that position between sitting and standing which relieves stress on the back. The benefit of these stools is that you need to constantly move as you sit on them, so you’re able to guide your body to find the right balance as you sit. In the process, you keep your spine in its natural alignment, the muscles in their relaxed but engaged state, and you’re able to keep your body in its natural position.
Also called moving chairs or swaying chairs, these are built to constantly move as you sit on them. And as they move, your body keeps interacting with the chairs—shifting weight, balancing—and thereby engaging your muscles in the process. These are also called active chairs because of the activity that they promote among their users.
Alternate between sitting and standing
Making this shift is now easy with the availability of adjustable standing desks, desks that can move from a lower to a higher height with just a keypad press, giving you various height options to work with. Another option if you’re not ready for a full standing desk is a desk converter, a simple and portable device that you can place on top of your regular desk to get an increase in height. Some converters are even built with keyboard tray and additional slots, perfect for accommodating all your computer accessories.
Be proactive about movement
This simply means being intentional about adding movement to your daily work activities. You can start by simply setting your alarm so that it goes off every hour, and then you are reminded to stand up, stretch, do some desk exercises, or take a quick walk to get water.
The most important thing is to consciously want to add movement to your day, and take small actions so that you achieve this small and simple win every day.
Pay attention to your body
Don’t ignore what your body tells you—it knows more than you think it does. Pay attention, and adjust.
Get as much exercise as you can
We’ve mentioned earlier in the article that exercise will not offset the hours you spend sitting. However, if you are already taking extra steps to become more active as you sit, then adding a few minutes of exercise regularly is icing to the cake.
The secret to sustainable exercise is to do something that you love. If you enjoy the outdoors, run outside. If you love the gym, then sign up for a regular membership. What’s important is to just do it.
We hope the tips above are helpful to you. Sitting at work, or even at home, may have become part of the new normal, but there are ways to stay healthy. Try the suggestions above, and let us know how they work for you.
MotionGrey is a Canadian standing desk company that specializes in ergonomic furniture. We supply and install only the best quality standing desks and ergonomic chairs in the country.
Our products are designed with wellness as the focal point. From our electric standing desks to our office and gaming chairs, we deliver best value by putting your health, safety, and comfort as top priority. Boost your creativity and level up work performance. We want you to create great outcomes so we’re providing you only the best tools to make them possible.
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