Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is difficult if you are doing an office job. Long hours of sedentary sitting in the office space cause different health problems such as the increased risk of obesity, back pain, and heart disease. Have you ever wondered, What is active sitting?
Physical exercise has its benefits but the negative health impacts of prolonged sitting in the office chair can’t be completely recovered through it. To compensate, some people use standing desks to bring variation and activity to their working hours. Others incorporate exercise machines such as under-desk ellipticals and flat treadmills into their working space. These methods are undoubtedly useful but they are not convenient for everyone.
Fortunately, there is a better alternative, which is called active sitting. But not many people know what is acting sitting. So for their ease, in the given article, we will discuss the benefits of active sitting, exercises to achieve it, and chairs that promote active sitting. So, let’s first understand the meaning of active sitting.
What is Active Sitting?
Active sitting, also called dynamic sitting, is the way of sitting that engages the muscles in the core, buttocks, and legs to maintain an upright position and support the spine. It refers to making small movements while sitting rather than remaining constantly static. It promotes increased movement and physical activity throughout a given workday.
The human body is designed in such a way that it needs constant motion to stay active and aligned. People with long hours spent sitting suffer from less blood flow because the motion of the body’s organs is restricted.
Pancreas, on the other hand, is constantly working and transporting insulin throughout the body. This leads to increased chances of obesity and, eventually, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, our brain also loses focus and attention if we sit for long hours without any activity.
Active sitting keeps the body dynamic during sitting and thus mitigates the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. By stabilizing blood circulation, active seating encourages consistent muscle contraction so that every organ of your body receives blood equally.
Benefits of Active Sitting
Active or dynamic sitting improves the physical and mental health of individuals in a variety of ways such as:
Strengthens Back and Core Muscles
The core muscles of the human body include muscles in your back, chest, abdomen, and sides. All these muscles work together to keep you balanced. While sitting, most of these muscles don’t need to do any work which leads to poor posture and a damaged spine.
Active sitting engages and strengthens the core muscles by evenly distributing the burden to all of them.
Improves Body Posture
Active sitting promotes muscle activity and engagement which helps in maintaining a good posture. Poor posture is the root cause of back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Active sitting keeps the human body a little uncomfortable and disturbed which forces it to constantly adjust to a more comfortable position. This constant motion eventually leads to an ideal posture.
Active sitting can’t take the place of a regular exercise routine in burning calories, however, people who engage in active sitting burn more calories than nonactive sitters. The reason is that active sitting involves constant muscle engagement which regulates body metabolism.
However, active sitting proves to be more effective when combined with other healthy lifestyle habits such as regular work out and a balanced diet.
Better Blood and Oxygen Circulation
Sedentary sitting for long hours slows down the normal functioning of organ systems such as the digestive system, circulatory system, and respiratory system. Slow blood and oxygen circulation leads to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels. Making small movements while sitting increases blood and oxygen circulation around the body which in turn increases energy levels as well.
How to Achieve Active Sitting?
You can achieve active sitting in two ways. Its’ recommended to use both so that they can complement each other and the user gets the maximum benefits. The first way of achieving active seating is by using an active chair and the second one is by doing active sitting exercises.
Start with Active Sitting Chairs
Active sitting can be achieved using an active sitting chair that encourages natural movement and engages the muscles of the user without constantly thinking about it. Here are some of the best active sitting solutions present in the market:
A kneeling chair is a type of office chair that is shaped like >, where the knees are bent around a point. Unlike a normal chair, a kneeling chair, to a greater extent, maintains the natural curvature of your spine and thus eliminates the need for a backrest as well.
Moreover, these chairs have a rocking base that allows you to move freely in a range of postures necessary for a healthy spine as well as a good sitting position. If you are interested in knowing more about the benefits and advantages of kneeling chairs, we already prepared a guide for you.
A balance stool is considered the best option for achieving active seating. These stools are designed in such a way that it promotes balance and engages the core muscles.
These stools have generally a ball-shaped seat that requires the user to make small adjustments to maintain balance while sitting. Some balance stools can be fully adjusted to a standing position while others can only make small adjuments for sitting.
Bouncing chairs promote active sitting by allowing the user to sit and bounce while working. These chairs are also more comfortable than traditional office chairs. Unlike a normal office chair, bouncing chairs constantly move when a user sits on them and reduces the health risks associated with prolonged static sitting.
Along with the above-mentioned active sitting options, many experts also recommend yoga balls to promote active sitting.
Studies indicate that yoga balls challenge the core muscles of the body, improve balance and stability, and support posture.
Incorporate Active Sitting Exercises
Apart from using an active chair, there are plenty of exercises that can be practiced to promote active sitting. Some of them are mentioned below:
Walking is a good cardio exercise that doesn’t take a lot of effort but has immense benefits on physical health. Take periodic breaks during working hours and walk around. It would increase blood circulation around the body and reduce joint pain.
Different sitting and standing stretches can also be practiced to promote active sitting. Neck stretch, shoulder roll, chest stretch, and tricep stretches are a few simple options. Stretching helps in reducing muscle stiffness and increasing flexibility.
However, always stretch slowly and gently without forcing any body part. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds so that your muscles can relax.
Seated Leg extension
This simple exercise can be performed while sitting on a chair. Lift one leg off the ground, extend it straight in front of you and hold for a few seconds. After that, switch the leg and perform the same exercise on the other leg.
A knee lift is the most convenient exercise that can be practiced to attain active sitting. Lift one knee off the ground, stretch it towards your chest and hold it for a few seconds. Then switch the other knee and repeat the process.
Active sitting involves sitting in a way that supports regular movements. It naturally engages the muscles and joints of the body. In this way, blood and oxygen circulation is improved throughout the body.
Active sitting also improves the body posture, helps in burning excessive calories, and reduces stress on the body. Specific chairs are available in the markets that promote active sitting such as balance stools, kneeling chairs, and yoga balls. In addition, there is a range of exercises that promote active sitting such as stretches, walking, knee lifts, and leg extensions.