What is a good exercise chair for the office?
Now that we have accepted that our brain doctrine society has become more reliant on sitting for prolonged periods of time and that static sitting caused by using traditional office chairs can lead to some serious health consequences, the big question, is there a good exercise chair for work?
Exercise chair = Active sitting chair
Active sitting is a relatively new term mostly derived and or inspired by people who intuitively know that they need to move more while they work.
Probably the most well-known exercise chair for the office was the exercise ball. Of course this was never intended to be an exercise chair but rather a therapeutic adjunct to help strengthen core stabilizing muscles especially for persons suffering from back pain that might be exacerbated by sitting. Recent studies have confirmed that exercise balls do not work best as office exercise chairs, primarily as they do not provide postural positioning but they also have other inherent design features that may in fact result in injury when used this way.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering an exercise chair for your office is that we are all affected by gravity which tends to compromise our natural posture when our structural stabilizing muscles and connective tissues are not in optimal shape. When these stabilizing muscle groups are allowed to weaken or atrophy due to lack of use, gravity begins to win the battle and allow the skeletal structure to collapse. Then we begin to see more pronounced kyphosis and scoliosis, text neck and more.
When someone assumes a compromised sitting position over time and they do not have an appropriate exercise chair, they will begin to experience discomfort, possibly pain and potentially more complex issues such as disc herniation and nerve impingement.
In the ongoing battle to overcome the impact of gravity, there is a very real need to understand your body mechanics and begin to focus more on the cause and less on the symptoms. When we have addressed the cause, the symptoms should dissipate.
Is there such a thing as an exercise office chair?
When the media began to spread the word of the dangers of sitting, sitting disease and of course, sitting is the new smoking, people began to “gravitate” to standing as the only obvious alternative.
While standing should be considered as an act that we should incorporate into our day, it doesn’t matter whether we sit or stand, we need to move. The introduction of a treadmill desk is a consideration but the jury remains inconclusive as to whether this activity contributes to diminished productivity and whether it is realistically sustainable over long hours.
Simply standing at a desk has been determined to have the potential of assuming poor posture once fatigue sets in and the person begins leaning on their work surface. Studies have shown that standing for prolonged periods of time may indeed exacerbate back pain and in the very least the user should introduce a protocol where they intermittently raise alternate feet onto a platform to reduce the risk of over extending their lumbar spine from tilting their pelvis too far forward.
Ideally, we might have an exercise chair for work that allowed subtle but healthy movement. An office chair for core exercises and one that would stimulate blood and lymphatic flow, neural pathways, muscle activity and joint mobility.
How is CoreChair considered to be an exercise chair?
CoreChair was designed specifically to optimize sitting posture and encourage healthy movement. As the name would suggest CoreChair is not only beneficial in addressing back pain as a result of the best posture that it provides but it is also an office chair for core exercises.
Stronger core stabilizing muscles are beneficial for a healthy posture as well as being beneficial for all other activities of daily living that we engage in.
CoreChair exercises work well as the chair is designed to pivot immediately beneath your center of balance, allowing you to activate various muscle groups very subtly and engage in specific exercises in your chair at intervals throughout your day.
In general we always have subtle movement that results from simple things such as breathing but more specifically when reaching. The dynamic mechanism of the CoreChair allows for these subtle movements by moving with the user and reducing the potential stress that might occur if the person is moving but their chair doesn’t follow this movement. The obvious result is that the strain of moving on the musculoskeletal structure is amplified.
Is an exercise chair valuable for computer work?
An exercise computer chair is not only beneficial for your health but in a recent study out of Guelph University, CoreChair was compared with a traditional ergonomic chair and it was determined that subjects experienced enhanced cognitive function as a result of the subtle movement while using this exercise chair at computer functions.
When sitting at the computer for long periods, your ergonomic set up should be carefully considered. The orientation of either an ergonomic office chair or the right exercise chair that provides good ergonomic positioning, should allow you to position yourself comfortably in front of your work station.
Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees allowing your thighs to be on a downward slope and your hips more open. In this position, your pelvis should remain more vertical and in turn your ascending spine will find a natural balanced and extended position which ultimately ends with you head comfortably balanced over your shoulders.
Whether the consideration to include an exercise chair is primarily to gain some healthy movement and exercise, it is important that the user does not overlook the need for optimal ergonomics. When considering this it is important to maintain good pelvic support to ensure that any exercise is done in a mechanically efficient manner and does not result in damage or injury to the regions that you wish to exercise.
How can you get an exercise chair for work?
There are specific active sitting chairs like CoreChair that are available but you can also consider accessories that will encourage more movement. Some accessories include foot peddle systems that can sit under the desk. Be certain that you don’t compromise good sitting posture when using these for prolonged periods of time.
An exercise chair for the office, should promote good sitting posture as a priority and the movements obtained from these exercises should be natural.
Of course an exercise chair for the office should have similar characteristics as an ergonomic office chair but it would be prudent to determine in advance if you can have both, an exercise chair and an ergonomic office chair.
What kind of chair exercises are best?
Chair exercises for the office can simply be anything that encourages movement and the chair exercises might also include core exercises in a chair that are similar to core exercises on a stability ball.
While sitting properly, one can begin to realize the exercise benefits by simply raising one foot off the floor and then alternate this. Exercise chairs like CoreChair actually move with you, so you can begin to feel some benefits from simply doing your hips while you sit.
The most profound exercises are those that affect the rather tiny core stabilizing muscles that surround and support the spine. Many people think of core muscles as simply their abdominal six pack. While these larger muscle groups to contribute to core strength a good core exercise chair will have dramatic impact on these tiny stabilizing muscle groups from simply sitting somewhat imbalanced in your exercise chair.
Many traditional ergonomic office chairs include an ability to recline and even rock. While this movement may have some benefits, it is best when the user is sitting in an engaged and balanced sitting position and allowed to rock in all directions. The ability to move in all directions and engage the variety of muscle groups available will allow all muscle groups to contract and relax which enhances blood flow and the ability to get a training effect from your office exercise chair every bit as much as you might from a visit to the gym.
What can I expect to feel from an exercise chair at work?
If you are distracted by the act of exercising while sitting at work, then you might consider an exercise chair that allows very subtle movement that will provide ongoing “incidental” movement and engage your muscles with low intensity and long duration.
You may also want to plan specific intervals throughout your day that you actually engage in exercises and push your intensity up for shorter durations and then return to your normal.
The bottom line is that any movement is beneficial but the right office exercise chair will allow you to experience much greater long term sitting comfort, less back pain and overall enhanced productivity.
CoreChair is one of the most studied exercise chairs for the office. With its excellent postural positioning, several studies found that the users pelvis was held in a better position to optimize the upward balance of the spine and other studies found that blood circulation was enhanced.
Anecdotally, long time users of CoreChair have shared that they not only have a reduction in back pain associated with sitting but also have a feeling of being less tired after many hours at the computer.
A good office exercise chair should provide comfortably balanced sitting positions while allowing smooth natural movements.
Many people are conditioned to try various chairs in advance of their purchase and this usually involves attending an office chair showroom and sitting in various models to determine what is best for them.
When possible it is most advantageous to first do your research and then identify a manufacturer that has a satisfaction guarantee that will allow you to try the chair over a period of time to be certain that it achieves your objectives.
Do you want to learn more about exercise chairs for the office?
Most manufacturers have a vast amount of information on their products that the sales person in various retail stores are not aware of. In most cases retail stores may carry a variety of different brands and models and it is difficult for them to be proficient in all.
Consider creating a short list of companies that offer an exercise chair or active sitting chair and take some time to review their websites carefully and reach out to them to better understand their solutions.