As much as I love my cheap treadmill desk workstation, there are times when I want steady hands while working on the computer. There are times when my legs are sore and screaming at me to take a break! During these times, I rely on chairs. However, for many years, I didn’t pay attention to what type of chair I was sitting in or how I was sitting in that chair. As time wore on, I discovered neck and shoulder pain. This came from slouching in a traditional chair, straining at a computer screen and inventing creative ways to study in the library.
Needless to say, I developed quite the slouchy posture during high school and college. It didn’t help that I was six feet tall and towered over my friends, so I felt that I had to slouch a bit to better hear conversations. As an adult, I realized my posture was bad. I worked with a chiropractor to help me correct some scoliosis that I developed. In addition to straightening out the sideways curve that I had, my chiropractor recommended a product for active sitting. It is inexpensive and I still use it. It is called the ergo sit. Instead of relying on the perfect ergonomic chair for support of my back, I was going to be removing the supports and strengthening my stabilizing muscles. Cool concept.
At first, active sitting was a chore. I was working muscles that had been neglected by chairs with lumbar support. My muscles were not use to sitting in chairs for good posture.
With the ergo sit, I could swivel my hips from right to left and front to back. My chiropractor gave me some simple exercises that I could do to engage my core. I twisted to the right and left and curved my spine from side to side. I did these exercises before I began work, during a break and as I was finished working. Active sitting really started to improve my posture and make being seated more tolerable. My shoulder and neck pain were going away!
As I learned more about the damaging effects of staying seated all day, I began to consider replacing some of my chairs with active sitting chairs for good posture. There a bunch of them on the market! As I talked with my brother, I found out he was doing active sitting as well. He had started using a balance ball instead of a chair! This gives you the freedom of a bit more motion while you sit. You can slide forward and backward without much trouble. Your core is challenged to keep you stable. If you start getting antsy, there are plenty of small exercises that you can do while you are seated.
One of the great things about using a stability ball as a chair is that you can also use it in your workouts and get double duty from it. Stability balls are often used in yoga and there are even stability ball workouts. For people who want to take their push ups to the next level, a stability ball will have you working your arms and targeting those core stabilizing muscles at the same time!
There is a downside to using a stability ball as your desk chair. It has a tendency to roll away. There are a few active sitting chairs for good posture that don’t roll around as much and still provide wonderful benefits!
Stability Ball Chairs
For working at a desk, the Gaiam Balance Ball chair is perhaps one of my favorites. This chair is a little less challenging than a simple balance ball, but it does challenge your core muscles. There is a back rest for those times when you want to lean back away from your computer and stretch. In my opinion, it is the perfect combination between stability ball sitting and the average desk chair.
If you aren’t keen on sitting on a ball, there are active sitting stools. Learniture has an active sitting stool that provides the same active sitting benefits in a stool that the balance ball chairs provide. This is a great alternative for someone who has minimal space. Some people may feel that stools are a bit more stable as well.
For people worried about whether or not their chair will suddenly burst, there is the Zenergy Ball chair. It is created with a mesh design that prevents it from being able to burst. Additionally, it has wheels that stabilize it and prevent it from rolling away on its own.
The ErgoErgo sit chair. This chair is ergonomically correct. The ErgoErgo is quite springy as well, so you must be focused to stay on it and not just bound right off of it. It is perfectly balanced, but you must constantly engage your muscles to stabilize yourself in an upright position. This has the benefit of strengthening your muscles as well as increasing blood flow to the vital areas of your body. Increasing blood flow means that your organs are more oxygenated and your brain is able to focus better. The Ergo Ergo is available in kids sizes too! Kids will have lots of fun with this design!