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Active Sitting: What It Is and Why You Need to Practice It
Maybe you’ve heard the term “active sitting.” It’s also referred to as “dynamic sitting.” Regardless of whether you’re familiar with the terminology, you’re most likely familiar with the idea that our bodies were meant to move.
Yet, our society demands that we spend a lot of time sitting: at our desks, in our cars, on our couches watching the latest hit television show.
Active sitting is meant to counteract the dangers of being sedentary. The idea behind dynamic or active sitting is that movement (and therefore flexibility) while sitting is beneficial for the human body and therefore makes some seated tasks easier.
At the most basic level, active sitting means that you’re actively engaging some of your muscles (back, abdominal, leg) while sitting. Instead of remaining motionless for long periods of time, you make minor changes to your position in order to keep your body active.
Active Versus Static Sitting Versus Ergonomics
You may be wondering what the difference between active sitting and ergonomics is. The name says it all: active sitting is about being active while traditional ergonomics are passive.
Most office chairs on the market try to lock your body into one “perfect” position. It’s static. Active sitting, in contrast, supports healthy alignment while encouraging your body’s natural need for movement.
Sitting still for long periods has been linked to multiple serious health conditions, including raising the risk of heart disease according to the American Heart Association.
The worst part? It doesn’t matter how much exercise you do when you’re not sitting. Exercise cannot undo the damage that static sitting causes the body over time, including back and neck pain, muscle weakness, spinal deformities like hunches, spinal disc degeneration, pinched nerves, and reduced blood circulation. The list goes on>.
The Benefits of Active Sitting
Moving while you sit promotes good health and even productivity. These are some of the most important benefits. As you can see, physical benefits are inextricably linked to mental and emotional benefits.
Increased Muscle Strength (especially core strength)
When you maintain one posture, AKA sit still, your body is only using a few muscles and tendons at once. The others relax, which can weaken them over time. Active sitting prevents you from relying on just a few muscles and gets others involved in rotation. It’s especially good for improving your core strength, by giving you a reason to use your core muscles: every time you move, you use your lower and upper abdominal muscles.
Your spine is a column made up of vertebrae and discs. The discs hold the vertebrae together and are filled with a gel-like substance and fluid that needs nutrients to stay healthy. Your body distributes nutrients through blood flow, which requires movement.
Better Posture & Relief from Back Pain
The combination of improved posture and core strengthening, active sitting makes the user less prone to back pain that’s associated with prolonged sitting. When we sit statically, our bodies get fatigued and we slide down into a C-shape. A C-shape is dangerous, with our hips behind our shoulders and neck. We often form bad habits that compound over time into injuries, primarily to the hips, neck, shoulders. Instead of the stiffness that comes from locking in place, not relying solely on your chair to hold you up Requires you to keep shifting and find ideal posture.
Improved Circulation and Concentration
When you move, your muscles contract. This action forces blood through muscle tissue and all throughout your body. Active sitting increases this muscle engagement and blood flow, bringing blood cells full of fresh oxygen to your organs. By keeping your blood pumping, you are helping your heart stay healthy, and your brain stay sharp.
Increased calorie burn
Now, active sitting is certainly not a replacement for calorie-burning exercise; you won’t burn that many more. However, the simple act of expending energy can have a significant effect on your passive metabolism. Active sitting tells your body that it’s still at work,
Styles of Active Sitting: How to Do It
So, how exactly does one sit actively? All it takes is muscle engagement. However, when left to our own devices, we often get distracted and end up slouching, especially if we sit for long periods of time.
Active sitting solutions encourage more movement than a traditional chair, in turn leading to good posture and muscle engagement.
And while some active sitting solutions, like a rocking chair on a porch, are great for short periods, you need something else for long term computer work.
There are many seat styles marketed for active sitting purposes, including stools, bouncy ball chairs, kneeling chairs, and yoga balls.
But unfortunately, these office chair alternatives can often cause more harm than good, as they lack proper lumbar support and are not conducive to long periods of sitting.
Your Best Active Sitting Option: The Healthy Chair
Thankfully, there is one traditional office chair alternative built with your body in mind. Made by all33, the BackStrong chair was designed by a renowned chiropractor and interior designer duo specifically for active sitting.
The BackStrong was created to solve the problem of static sitting, but with all the comfort of other ergonomic chairs – with proper support and no need to struggle to balance on a stool or yoga ball.
Remember how your spine is made up of vertebrae and discs? This chair keeps all 33 vertebrae moving, lubricating those discs in between. In fact, it features patented Sit in Motion® technology that allows your pelvis to move freely, while the lumbar support stacks your spine into perfect alignment.
It’s helped over 30,000 people get relief from back pain and embark on a more active lifestyle. Read the life-changing reviews for yourself.
Start Practicing Active Sitting Today
The concept of active sitting is gaining recognition, not only because of the massive shift to work from home but also among medical professionals who deal with the consequences of prolonged static sitting.
Learn more about the healthy chair best posed to get you practice active sitting and make a commitment to your wellbeing. And remember, active sitting should always be paired with regular movement breaks. Get up for walks, stretching, and exercise!