Research in the recent years has stated that sitting has become the new smoking. With so many advances in technology, most of us are sitting at a desk for extended periods of time. Retrospectively from an evolutionary standpoint, mankind was not designed to sit, which makes sitting in a chair one of the most biochemically stressful positions to put your body in. Medical professionals even declare that we strain our backs more when we sit than when we move around or stand. Prolonged sitting increases stiffness in the lower back and hips and causes abdominal and core weakness. Therefore, active sitting is suggested for individuals who remain sedentary.
Active sitting, also known as dynamic sitting occurs when the seated occupant is encouraged to move. The concept of active sitting can be beneficial to the human body and can make seated tasks easier to perform. Although active sitting equipment are traditionally found in the rehabilitation environment, they are gaining popularity in homes, offices and even fitness facilities. In the field of ergonomics, special furniture is made to target active sitting. The use of an unstable seating surface not only engages core movement, but it also helps maintain proper, upright sitting posture. The biggest benefit comes from increasing our hip angles. An open hip angle not only activates our core muscles, but also helps us keep the natural curvature of our spine. Commonly, majority of us lack core strength; therefore, when we sit, our pelvis is shifted beneath us into a slouching position where it increases vertebrae pressure which can lead to back pain. This type of sitting can be performed on stability ball chairs, flexibility stools, or even desk ellipticals. Studies have proven that active sitting on ergonomically designed chairs increases trunk motion which positively affects lower back health. Their findings indicate major benefits in: increased burning of fat tissue, reduced pressure on the spinal column, encouraged contraction of core muscles, increased control and awareness of body position, and improved posture.
Although these types of equipment (stability chairs, stools, desk elliptical) are rather pricey, an alternative option is a sitting disc. For starters, a sitting disc can help train in balance and mobility of our lower back and pelvic girdle. Subtle trunk motion can slowly be incorporated into one’s life to assist in reducing risks of lower back pains. Furthermore, investing in a tool that can make a difference in spinal health is a small price to pay rather than a medical bill.