What is Active Sitting? A Guide For Remote Workers in 2021
Staying active throughout the day has become especially important since many of us have transitioned to working from home for several months now.
From working at our desk, to sitting down for dinner, to settling in to our Netflix show, we do a whole lot of sedentary work during the day! On average, Canadian adults spend approximately 10 hours a day being sedentary.
This “sitting disease,” as it’s been named, has been linked with a higher risk of obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease later in life. Sitting for too long can also cause you to have joint pains or muscle cramps. Not to mention that improper sitting can cause you to have poor posture, neck pain, and even fatigue.
This is why many offices have made the switch to more ergonomic, active desk solutions. Height-adjustable standing desks, for example, can relieve back pain and get your blood moving while you work. Ergonomic anti-fatigue mats help with foot pain while you stand.
Can’t stand all day? Not a problem. According to the University of Waterloo, you shouldn’t be standing for more than 45 minutes every hour anyway! When you aren’t standing, you can relax back into your ergonomic office chair--or try some active sitting to reap the benefits!
What Is Active Sitting?
“Active sitting”, or “dynamic sitting” means your body is continually moving while you’re sitting down. While actively sitting, your muscles are constantly engaged, whether it’s your back, core muscles, or leg muscles.
This usually involves some sort of movement while you’re working at your desk. Ball chairs, wobbling stools, and kneeling chairs are all ways to incorporate active sitting in your workplace. We’ll talk more about this in a second.
What Are The Benefits Of Active Sitting?
Active moving is a great way to combat “sitting disease”! You can get your blood moving, burn some extra calories, and feel more energized as a whole.
Active sitting has many proven benefits:
- Reduced back and joint pain
- Better circulation
- Increased focus
Active sitting means you’re constantly moving and changing positions as you work. When you sit in one position for a long time, your back and joints may become stiff. Sitting on an exercise ball or a wobble stool makes you switch positions and re-balance yourself as you work, which improves your circulation!
Sitting on a balance ball has also been proven to reduce lower back pain. With active sitting, you’d be using muscles that you wouldn’t normally use while you’re sitting in a stationary chair. You’d actually be strengthening these muscles as you work. Re-balancing and bouncing can engage your core muscles, leg muscles, and back!
Constant tilting and shifting on a wobble stool or an exercise ball is the equivalent of light physical activity, studies show. Even these small movements can help you burn some extra calories. Sitting on an unstable surface might even motivate you to get up and walk around more often!
Active sitting can also increase your focus and concentration. Passive treadmill-walking or ball-bouncing can help you expend energy that might otherwise distract you from your tasks. Keeping active while you work can help you focus better as a result, as your energy levels are up as a result of constant movement.
In fact, active sitting has been found to improve concentration in younger children as well! Children who normally rock in their chairs or constantly kick their legs can focus better when they use active sitting for some movement in the classroom. This helps them to expend energy so they can engage with learning more effectively.
How Can I Use Active Sitting In My Home Office?
There are so many options for bringing active seating into your home office!
The first (and arguably the most inexpensive) option is to sit on a bouncy, exercise ball. This is a fun and simple solution to active sitting, as you can bounce while you’re working and keep your muscles engaged throughout the work day. If you already have an exercise ball at home, why not try sitting on it while you work from home? Just make sure you keep the bouncing to a minimum on your video conferences--your active seating might distract your colleagues!
Wobble stools are a great option for keeping your hips moving at work. The stool has a rounded and weighted base that provides an unstable surface for you to balance on and make micro-movements with. Most ergonomic office stools are adjustable, so you can use it for dynamic sitting. The perfect complement for your height-adjustable standing desk or sit-stand workstation!
Kneeling chairs might look weird or complicated to use, but they’re quite simple once you get the hang of it! The purpose here is to distribute your weight from your back and hips down to your legs. In this half-kneeling position, your hip flexors are opened up a little bit, and not as cramped as they would be if you were sitting in a regular office chair. As a result, this upright position gives you really great posture!
Remember that active seating isn’t suitable for all-day use! Your body needs to rest as well. Alternate between sitting (in an ergonomic chair), standing, and active seating for maximum productivity during the day. Use an adjustable standing desk to make this as easy as pushing a button! Of course, everyone is different--find a routine that works best for you in your home office.
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