Now Too Much Standing Is Bad Too: Learn About Active Sitting

May 11, 2021

woman typing

Okay, then maybe sitting isn't as bad as smoking is. Smoking is still so bad that, yes, it could give you something so awful such as bad breath or the highly dreaded cancer. We've all heard about and even might have experienced the adverse effects of sitting too much since standing desks first became mainstream. What was the most important thing we also discovered? We've been sitting for way too long, way too steadily.

I won't get into the nitty-gritty of the pitfalls of too much sitting anymore as I'm pretty sure we've all had read about them or even felt them. In case you haven't, here's to list the most common ones:

● Long periods of sitting will cause the large leg and gluteal muscles to weaken and waste away

● Sitting causes the hip flexor muscles to shrink, leading to hip joint problems and can also cause back problems, mainly if you sit with poor posture all the time or do not use an ergonomically built chair or workstation.

● According to some doctors, people who are inactive and sit for long periods have a 147% high chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

● Sitting for extended periods may result in varicose or spider veins (smaller varicose veins) since sitting causes blood to pool in your legs.

● Sitting for an extended time will result in deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that forms in the veins of your leg. DVT is a severe issue because if a blood clot breaks off in the leg vein and moves, it may cut off blood flow to other areas of the body.

● Five days of lying in bed will cause your body to develop insulin resistance (this will cause your blood sugar to increase above average). According to research, people who spend more time sitting have a 112 percent higher chance of developing diabetes.

● Your digestion is less effective, and you store those fats and sugars as fat in your body if you sit way too much.

But then, there are also the drawbacks of standing too much.

I got just as excited when I got my standing desk converter. Everything was set up; even my cat knew his place once I put it up. I kid you not, after even just a day or two, the soreness on my lower back that I have been enduring and nagging about for months has significantly reduced that I hardly complained about it anymore. Noticing that I grew much of a belly over quarantine, I then stood the majority of my time working from home since then. Discomfort on my legs from when I sat a lot before also disappeared, but another type of discomfort developed. My feet hurt by the end of the day. So I thought, yes, I might have done a little too much. Compelled to do some reading, here are some common negative effects of standing too long:

● varicose veins

● leg pain and swelling

● bunions/corns

● low back pain

● restricted blood flow

● locked joints

● arthritis

● stiff shoulders and neck

● problems in pregnancy

● high blood pressure

Static vs. Active Sitting

The simple fact is that sitting does not damage us. Sitting is an integral part of our daily lives that we cannot, and should not, eliminate. In certain situations, it is the “how” we sit in static postures all day and the amount of time we sit in those static postures that affect our health and efficiency. Static sitting is a sedentary lifestyle in and of itself.

Active sitting, also known as dynamic sitting, refers to consciously working at least some of your muscles when sitting in a chair, whether those muscles are in your back, abdomen, or legs. As opposed to being motionless for an 8-hour duration, active sitting allows individuals to make minor adjustments to their sitting habits to keep muscle groups busy.

BENEFITS OF ACTIVE SITTING

Now let's get to the benefits that come with office chairs used for active sitting:

● Encourages movement. Chairs that facilitate active sitting promote continuous motion. Active sitting actively stimulates muscles but does not seem to be any activity at all for stabilizing posture.

● Improves posture. 

● Increases core strength. You'll be working your lower and upper abdominal muscles, back and shoulder muscles, and muscles on your rib cage and down into your hips.

● Reduces back pain. Active sitting minimizes the risk of back pain associated with extended sitting by combining better posture and core strengthening.

● Burns calories. Active sitting still burns calories than passive sitting all day. Burning a few calories often signals to the body that the metabolism is still active, implying that energy is being provided for both the body and the brain.

● Improves circulation and concentration. Active sitting encourages regular muscle contraction, which forces blood into muscle tissue and across the body. It then pumps oxygenated blood cells across the body, revitalizing both the body and mind. 

CHAIRS FOR ACTIVE SEATING

Today's market provides a broad range of seating choices that promote active sitting:

KNEELING CHAIR

Kneeling chairs tip you slightly forward, which is why the seat typically lacks back support. The unsupported tilt encourages you to use core muscles without even thinking about it.

BALANCE BALL

Balance balls also eliminate the need for back support, allowing for more upright posture and core strengthening. You can also add a little bounce or move to their sitting to challenge your balance and have some exercise in your hips and legs.

SADDLE CHAIR

The saddle chair is just as it sounds like: you sit in it like you're saddling a horse. The knees drop down, allowing the hip and knee angles to open up and encourage circulation. Some saddle chairs are height adjustable, allowing for a perching stance.

LEANING STOOL

Leaning stools have no back support and allow you to lean forward onto their desk comfortably.

WOBBLE STOOL

What is effective in improving posture and engaging the right muscles is an ergonomic wobble stool, provided you choose one that allows for a range of motion while sitting. With a smaller surface area for the seat and no backrest, it encourages better posture and leg movement while still giving you enough support to not resort to slouching.

Wobble chairs are balanced on a half-sphere, rocking you back and forth. That is, to sit upright at your desk, you must consciously use your leg, hip, and core muscles when sitting. If you use a standing desk, an ergonomic wobble stool will help make standing less tiring by allowing you to take a fast, comfortable break without having to lower your desk to a fully seated position.

Did you know that wobble stools aid you in terms of focusstabilitybalance, and posture? The ability to rock, sway, and even bounce without leaving the chair lets fidgeters release energy that would otherwise distract them. When you tip the stool forward, you perch on the corner, which engages your core even more, while sitting more balanced and straight-up relieves some of the strain. They're also known to be an affordable and fun option for active sitting!

The Height Adjustable Wobble Stool BH2 by FlexiSpot has an ergonomic design of 360°swivel, tilting left and right at 15° make work healthier, is portable, and has a stable 11 lbs iron base. It comes in four colors (blue, grey, black, red), thick sponge cushion with high resilience, and adjusts up to 28.1" tall, giving you a rest from standing without having to go all the way back down to an ordinary chair! 

How many hours of standing is considered safe?

According to experts, you should try to stand for at least 2 hours a day, but up to 4 hours per day can be ideal. It may seem to be a lot, but there are many ways to incorporate standing into your daily routine.

Having a standing desk is not a choice for some people, and others believe that if they are not sitting at their desk, it appears that they are not working. If you drive, try parking further away from the office, so you have to walk a little farther each time. You may walk when taking a phone call and go out of your way to use the toilet that's farthest away from your desk. A few small daily exercises can mean the difference between living a healthy lifestyle and suffering from unnecessary health problems.

CONCLUSION

When discussing the advantages of using a standing desk, it isn't so much the standing itself that is beneficial as it is the movement that standing makes. The less you move, the worse your health will be over time, so try to be careful of how you sit at work. 

Furthermore, rather than concentrating on sitting or standing as an issue, we should take a broader perspective, recognizing that a balanced day includes sitting, standing, and walking.

This site, stand, walk theory supports the notion that our bodies aren't intended to remain in one posture for long periods and reminds me to move between work zones during the day. Movement during the day is essential for more than just physical well-being. When we integrate exercise and activity into our day, we become more active, creative, and efficient.

We accept articles, stories, and reviews that feature our products. The topics can also include tips on posture, spine health, and how to create a healthy work-from-home setup. If you are interested to collaborate with us, send an email to [email protected].

Sign Up to Receive Our Newsletter & Get the Best Ergonomic Tips