- One recent trend to create healthier workplaces is ‘active sitting’, which encourages small, light movements to improve physical and mental health.
- The problem isn’t the fact that people sit — it’s how they sit. This is where active seating options can help.
- Active seating options vary in shape and size in order to support different types of movements, like rocking, leaning, perching, wobbling, balancing, and straddling.
One of the most pressing health concerns in the workplace is sedentary behavior. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) “greater time spent in sedentary behavior is associated with all-cause and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in adults.” For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that individuals aren’t active enough and that this trend is particularly pronounced in regions where jobs and hobbies have become more sedentary.
In 2017, the global corporate wellness market was valued at $50.2 billion. The market is expected to grow to $84.9 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 6.8%. As worker health and wellbeing becomes a workplace priority, many companies have started to implement wellness programs, improve their workplace design, and apply for wellness certifications.
One recent trend to create healthier workplaces is active seating options. A few years ago, the American Heart Association found that 3 hours of uninterrupted sitting reduces vascular function, but this decline can be prevented by 5-minute bouts of light walking at regular intervals. Encouraging individuals to stand up and move constantly can positively impact a person’s physical and mental health.
According to Steelcase, active sitting is “moving and varying postures while sitting throughout the day (to) encourage better breathing and blood flow in the human body.”
Active sitting prevents individuals from staying in a static position, which can weaken core muscles and strain muscles and ligaments that support the back. By encouraging people to shift their posture while sitting down, active sitting enables the body to transfer the support to new muscles and ligaments, therefore allowing those that are strained and tired to relax and recuperate.
Active sitting achieves this by mimicking movements that people make when standing or walking; both of which engage several core and back muscles to keep a person upright and balanced. Movement is critical to achieving and maintaining wellness and it can also improve concentration, engagement, and productivity levels.
Seating, in other words, shouldn’t be static. And according to research, it typically isn’t. “Seated workers use tiny amounts of energy and they fidget every 40 to 50 seconds, moving their legs and feet, reclining and sitting upright, shifting their weight on the seat pan and flexing and extending the upper and lower back.”
According to Steelcase, the problem isn’t the fact that people sit — it’s how they sit. This is where active seating options come in.
Chairs should mimic spinal motion, which can help professionals feel more comfortable throughout the workday. Comfort will not only prevent back pains and other health issues, but it will also increase productivity.
Active seating options vary in shape and size in order to support different types of movements, like rocking, leaning, perching, wobbling, balancing, and straddling.
Benefits of Active Sitting
- Better circulation. The human body is designed to constantly move; active sitting can help keep joints lubricated, it can prevent disks from becoming dry, and it can improve blood flow.
- Core strength. By encouraging people to shift their position and move, people will engage more core muscles, which can lead to core strength.
- Improve posture. Active sitting can improve a person’s posture as it requires that a person be mindful of how they are distributing their weight. *This isn’t always the case and individuals need to be mindful to prevent slouching.
- Increased productivity. Active sitting keeps people active, which can help them focus and concentrate, therefore increasing productivity levels.
- Reduce risk of certain health conditions. Uninterrupted and static sitting increase risk of cardiovascular activity, stress, diabetes, and other problems. Constant, light movement can help reduce this risk.
- Reduces muscle tension. Movement transfers the support of the body to different muscles and ligaments, which prevents muscle and ligament strain and tiredness. This can also help ease muscle pain.