Does Active Sitting Actually Work?

May 26, 2021

A woman stretching

The short answer: yes it does. 

There is a whole lot of credible research on the internet about why sitting is slowly killing you. A sedentary lifestyle causes all of our vital organs, such as the brain, to start functioning slowly (other than the pancreas), which starts bombarding cells with excess insulin. 

Put simply, sitting is bad. However, we need to complete some of our daily tasks. 

Thankfully, active sitting has been proven to have a positive impact on our health. Keep on scrolling to learn more about the problems with sitting for too long and the benefits offered by active sitting. 

What Is Active Sitting?

Research suggests that the average person is bound to adjust their posture at least 2 to 3 times every minute while standing. In doing so, they engage various muscles that help support their posture.

In contrast, while sitting statically in a chair, all of these muscles tend to relax and, hence, start weakening down. On that note, some other studies have proven that no matter how much exercise you put in to combat the damage done by an 8-hour sedentary lifestyle will still be harmful to the body. 

Some common problems with sitting too long include:

● Pinched nerves

● Spinal disk degeneration

● Hunched posture/spinal deformities

● Back pain

● Abdominal weakness

● Ineffective blood circulation

Active sitting also referred to as dynamic sitting, is a method of sitting that allows us to emulate all the movements we tend to make while walking or standing. This practice helps to engage some of our muscles while we’re sitting, including leg, back, or abdominal muscles. 

Active sitting can be done with the help of standing desks and bouncy ball or treadmill chairs. All of these contraptions help foster movement strategies that counter the effects of a sedentary lifestyle while also improving productivity for office-related tasks. 

Instead of sitting motionless for your entire 9-to-5 job, active sitting could help you make slight shifts in your sitting patterns to activate your muscle groups. 

The Benefits of Active Sitting

Now that you know the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and how active sitting counters these effects, let’s dive into the benefits you can expect by making these small changes. However, you should note that some of these benefits may only be experienced by those people who proactively participate in the movements allowed by their chair or standing desk. 

Boosts Core Strength

Active sitting chairs or standing desks assist their users by providing them with an opportunity to strengthen their core. Technically speaking, users will be able to work upper and lower abdominal muscles, the shoulder and back muscles, and the lateral muscles over their rib cage and hips.

If you are sitting on a traditional chair, you will have to pull your back away from your chair to sit upright and without any back support so that you can work your core muscles.

Encourages Constant Movement

Our body was not designed to remain seated for several hours. Instead, they had been made to remain in motion.

To counter the negative effects of prolonged sitting and inactivity, active sitting chairs and desks induce constant motion. Naturally, this doesn’t mean that you will be running laps while sitting at your desk. Instead, an active setting only helps to activate muscles that would otherwise be dormant while you’re seated. Even though active sitting doesn’t look like too much movement, it is really beneficial for our overall posture. 

Improves Posture

One of the immediate benefits of strengthening our core with active sitting is an overall improvement in posture. While we’re sitting in a chair, our body tends to get so fatigued that we slide down and cause our spine to curve into a c-shape. 

This all-too-common c-shape posture forces our neck and shoulders to come forward and our hips to go backward. This tends to result in additional fatigue, weakness, nerve impingement, and joint stiffness. 

Burns Calories

Even though this is, in fact, a benefit of active sitting, it may seem exaggerated to some. Naturally, active sitting cannot replace how many calories are burned during daily exercise. However, this practice still has the ability to burn calories that a 9 to 5 employee wouldn’t be able to burn by sitting around all day. 

Burning this small amount of calories also encourages the metabolism to continue working and produce energy for the brain and the body. 

Lesser Risk of Back Pain

By combining core strengthening and improved posture, active sitting benefits users by making them less prone to backaches associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Improved Concentration and Circulation

Active sitting helps to promote consistency in muscle contraction, which pumps blood through the practitioners’ muscle tissues and throughout their entire body. In other words, circulating oxygenated blood helps to rejuvenate the mind and body.

Scientifically-Proven Benefits

Despite the fact that active sitting has so many benefits, a large number of people remain skeptical about it. Well, this is why researchers swooped in to evaluate its benefits. 

For instance, a Swedish study compared a dynamic office chair with an ordinary inactive chair. The researchers found that participants using the dynamic sitting chair had performed the equivalent of ‘light exercise’ while remaining seated. 

Similarly, Merritt and Merritt concluded in a 2007 study that using a common gym ball could help relieve pain in the lower back. The researchers in this study also concluded that even though there was limited research and a lot of controversy surrounding using gym balls for rehabilitation and fitness, they showed promise in creating enough movement to reduce back pain. 

A 2016 study conducted by Ward also discussed how active sitting chairs such as standing desks and bouncy ball chairs could boost young children’s learning capabilities. According to this study, the children who have trouble focusing while remaining seated on regular chairs, began to show an increase in productivity in their school tasks. Keeping this in mind, imagine what implications this could have on adults and their productivity in the office.

Exercises For Active Sitting

Even though active sitting has so many benefits, we cannot stress enough that you need to fulfill your part while remaining seated. The following are a few examples of exercises you can do to keep moving:

  1. Stretches

While seated on your chair or standing up, try to stretch all the joints in your arms and legs after short breaks. Try to pay close attention to those joints that ache the most after sitting around all day. 

  1. Seated Exercises 

Move your abdominal muscles, hips, and legs while you’re sitting on your chair. Examples of these exercises include lifting a foot off the floor and tracing the word, “butt exercise” in the air. This practice will make you work out your glutes and bend your knees. Alternatively, you can also just try to lift your legs off the floor and as close to your chest as possible. Hold this for a few seconds before repeating. 

2.Sitting Breaks

If you’ve been working for an hour or so, remind yourself to have a walk around your office, cubicle, or home office. Doing so after short breaks increase the circulation in your body, affecting your productivity.

3Repositioning

Make an effort to consciously check your sitting position after a couple of minutes. If you don’t think you’re sporting a healthy posture, readjust yourself to prevent joint pain and other sedentary lifestyle problems. 

Does a Standing Desk Work Count As Active Sitting?

A standing desk not only helps to improve posture but also helps you get rid of all the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. The Theodore Standing Desk, for instance, has programmable height presets that can transition between standing and sitting with a single touch of a button. 

In addition, this standing desk isn’t as unsightly as a bouncy ball in the midst of a beautifully decorated office or home office space. Instead, this standing desk blends elegant touches with rustic elements to give you something that matches the interior decor and offers a timeless appearance. What’s more, it is super easy to install and you can complete its installation process in just a couple of minutes. 

Stop questioning, “ Why Sitting is slowly killing you”, and get yourself a height-adjustable desk for your home office and take all of the above-mentioned tips into serious consideration. We hope this article helps you improve your productivity and allows you to maintain an otherwise impossible work schedule with ease. 

Well, there you have it, folks. If you have any questions or concerns related to this article or active sitting in general, feel free to leave a comment below. Visit our website to read our blog or contact support. 

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