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Active Sitting for School in 2021: Why, What, and How

Aug 19, 2021

Adults are not the only ones suffering from the significant consequences of this continuous state of immobility. In our society today, not only do the vast majority of people perform desk jobs, but children as young as 4 and 5 years old are being confined to desks for 6+ hours a day, pressured to curtail their natural impulse to stand, hop, run, and play. We have commenced training our children to engage in the abnormal and anatomically detrimental inactivity of sitting for long periods from preschool. When children cannot conform to this inactive state, they are often medicated and forced to comply.

Active sitting, also known as dynamic sitting, empowers us to stay in motion rather than idly relaxing into a slouch or firmly maintaining a "proper" body posture. As opposed to traditional classroom seating, active seating allows for natural motion and offers a variety of benefits such as improved alignment of the spine, stimulates muscles, better blood flow, and enhances neurochemical processes that facilitate concentration.

Irrespective of the type of chair they are sitting in, students will try to move around. Because traditional school seating has little adaptability of active sitting, students frequently succumb to attempting to create their own movement by tilting the chair back on two legs and constantly transitioning their position on the chair. This type of forced movement can result in tensed muscles, discomfort, and even physical injury.

Active Sitting and Children's Focus

Active seating is a good choice for your active school environment, collaboration area, or shared spaces. It enables students to release energy by leaning, rocking, wiggling or gently wobbling while sitting, learning, or interacting in a classroom. This allows students who need to move to focus on the lesson instead of being troublesome or distracting, leaving class, or simply falling behind. Some active chairs move from side to side when sat on, while others squish. Some models have height adjustments to make sure that the user is best positioned.

When used appropriately, movement can improve student performance. Children must move, mainly when performing a complex mental task. When a task requires storing and processing details rather than just grabbing it, those with ADHD fidget more. Active seating is fidget-friendly, so it's a good way for children who wiggle in their chairs and won't hesitate to move to channel their extra energy into productive work. Active seating recognizes a child's need to move while keeping them seated still enough for educators and other learners to resume lessons undisturbed. Forward-facing and stiff seating can contribute to poor attention span, cognitive, and, eventually, lower academic outcomes. As a result, educators, principals, and administrators must devote additional time and resources to keeping these learners interested in class.

Instructors can concentrate on the lecture and deliver their attention to more students when enthusiastic students stay focused and cooperative due to constant subtle movements on active chairs. Active seating has been beneficial to both the body and mind, letting learners optimize their learning opportunities while also encouraging good posture and muscle tone. Active seating isn't just for students; instructors and other employees can gain stronger core muscles and better posture.

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Active Seating Options

The current market provides a wide range of comfortable seating that promote active sitting:

Saddle Chair: The saddle chair is exactly how it sounds: you sit in it like you're saddling a horse. The knees drop, allowing the hip and knee angles to open up and promote blood flow. Some saddle seats are height adjustable, allowing for a perching posture.
Wobble ChairWobble chairs or stools are balanced on a half-sphere, rocking the user back and forth. That is, to sit upright at their workstation, the user must consciously use core muscles, hip, and leg while sitting.
Kneeling Chair: Kneeling chairs shift the user partially forward, which is why the chair generally lacks back support or rest. The unsupported tilt encourages the user to activate core muscles without even thinking about it. The knees are cushioned, and the feet are nestled under the chair on another cushion, keeping the hip and knee angles open for better blood flow.
Perching Stool: A perching stool allows you to sit or stand midway between sitting and standing. To keep a solid perch stance, you must instinctively engage your core, back, leg, and hip muscles.
Balance Ball: Balance balls also eliminate proper posture, allowing for a more upright position and core strengthening. Sitters can add a minor bump or shift their sitting to challenge their equilibrium and get some hip and leg exercise.
Leaning Stool: Leaning seats have no back support and are designed to allow users to lean forward to their workstation confidently. This strengthens the core muscles, which contribute to good posture. To take full advantage, users must still do their part.

Ways to Promote Active Sitting in School or at Work

Whether in the classroom or workplace, active sitting is a beneficial habit worth keeping. Here are some tips:

Physical Activity

All of the benefits of physical activity and active sitting during the day apply to adults as well. Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day adds up to a lot. Worse, studies suggest that inactive sitting may increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

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Stand at Your Desk

As per studies, those who stood for a portion of their day had a higher mood and energy level. While standing all day isn't always the best way to lose weight, it is a good starting point for more movement throughout the day and will eventually result in getting up to speak with a coworker instead of chatting or e-mailing them. Try a height-adjustable standing desk or a standing desk riser to transform your existing desk. Flexispot has a range of styles you can choose from, depending on your needs or preferences. Both allow you to sit or stand all through while studying, learning, or working.

Update Your Chair

Balance balls, which place you on a less fixed surface and enable you to fully involve your muscles throughout the day, help reduce the adverse effects of prolonged sitting. They have you seated at a level higher than a standard office chair, which requires more effort from your core while allowing your back to stay in a more natural position. The unsteady surface also needs to engage more stabilizer muscles, just like when you exercise on uneven ground.

Set Walking Periods

Taking your tasks on the go is the perfect way to learn active sitting. Plan a stroll every hour or a longer walk several times per day. Short walks during the day can help you get your step counts in, whether you're trying to clear your mind or working on the go. Once you go back to your desk, you might even discover that you're more efficient.

Final Thought

Active seating has become more common in schools, and workplace settings, but not every appealing solution is appropriate to everybody. The point is to consult with an expert, start slowly, give your students options, and see what works best in which room. With each new type of desk or chair you bring into the learning environment, you will empower students to choose and decide what is best for them. Discover the perfect styles for your space and plan properly so that you get the most out of healthy furniture advancements.