Whatever business you’re in, be it an accountant, dentist, convenient store owner, or even work from home entrepreneur, the chances are, you spend a lot of time sitting down. And unless you’ve been locked away in a dungeon with no access to outside news, we all know the health perils of sitting for too long daily by now.
In this article I’ll show you 5 great ways to incorporate active sitting into your daily regime today, so you can start reversing the negative health effects of sitting.
Above all else, the best way to practice active sitting is to be active. Constantly standing to stretch out the low back and the hips, as well as activate the core with proper weight distribution, is a fantastic way to reap ergonomic benefits while at work.
A good way to make sure that you stand every twenty to thirty minutes is to set a timer on your phone or work computer. For five minutes, stretch your hips, back, and core with some side bending, forward stretching, and, reaches. These types of movements elongate the large muscles of the posterior chain, or the backend of the human body, and prevent muscle cramping and deterioration over time. In addition, it also encourages increased blood flow to the area and prevents the muscle group or nerves from going numb.
Another way that we can practice active sitting at work is by switching out our conventional office chair for a Swopper Stool. A Swopper Stool is different than its brethren because it promotes active movement throughout the day. This movement occurs because the stool itself is set on a rotating spring. This chair is also height-adjustable so that you can promote stretching of the hips and less of a knee bend while working for long hours, and the resistance of the spring can be increased or reduced based on its user.
The Swopper Stool differs from other active sitting chairs because it openly encourages constant movement while in use. This constant movement forces not only the core to active but also all of the surrounding muscles in the posterior chain. Constant movement requires stability in the entire back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings, and can, therefore, keep these muscles from deteriorating or becoming weak due to inactivity.
Lastly, the seat itself is comfortable enough to sit on for hours. Plus, the flexibility, as well as the resistance and height, is changeable, so it can be used from novices to well-trained Swoppers!
A kneeling chair is a great alternative to a conventional office chair because it encourages the user to sit more upright and activate their core while sitting. Normally, a commonplace office chair deactivates the core because the hips and glutes are supported. In addition, a normal office chair cramps the hips because they are stuck in constant flexion for hours on end, and with little movement out of that same position.
A kneeling chair encourages hip stretching and core activation because you are sitting on your shins and not on your butt. Plus, the absence of back support encourages the user to continually use the core to prevent rounding or arching of the lower back.
There are many different kneeling chair manufacturers and models out there- See this review by Ergonomic Trends for a list of the best ones.
There are a collection of bones underneath the glutes that promotes proper posture when sitting. However, a majority of Americans neglect these “sit bones” when they sit, which causes the lower back and the hips to curve and, thereby, create poor posture.
One way to make sure that you’re sitting on your sit bones is to shift slightly when sitting so that it feels as if you’re sitting on the bones right beneath the glutes. Sitting on the sit bones allows the spine to maintain its neutrality and prevents the hips from curving upwards to support your weight. Finding the sit bones takes some work, but becomes easier over time and can greatly benefit your posture! It can also be done in a conventional hard-backed chair, so there’s no need for an ergonomic replacement.
Watch this helpful video on how to locate and sit on your sit bones:
Another way we can practice active sitting is to make sure that our legs are straighter than ninety degrees and our feet can be placed flat on the floor. A ninety-degree angle at the knee creates excessive tension in the hip and deactivation of the core. However, when we straighten out the leg we allow the hip to stretch out, and a stool without a backrest encourages constant core engagement.
The Varier Move Stool is certified by the Mayo Clinic and encourages both hip stretching and core activation. The seat is akin to a bicycle seat so that you can hold your legs at hip-width or wider. The seat is also rounded, cushioned, and much wider so that you can sit comfortably. Lastly, the stool itself is on a rounded and rotating base, so that you do not need to strain in any direction while working.
Stools such as the Varier Move Stool are the perfect way to increase active sitting while at work without sacrificing comfort!
As you can see, sitting does not have to equate to a slow death sentence. With increased awareness, some effort, and perhaps the help of technology, active sitting can make a huge difference in your health without taking away time from working on your business.