Whether you sit on a bank of desks in an office building or you have a home office desk all of your own, making sure you are comfortable for your eight hour (and often longer) shifts is likely to be at the top of your priorities list.
For those of us that have a desk job, no matter how quirky or creative that desk job may be, it will still require us to sit down, sit still and get on with it. Now, this is ideal in terms of focus and productivity, but it can have an adverse effect on our physical health.
In order to be healthy when sitting, spines are supposed to be naturally curved, and muscles are meant to be actively engaged in a way that strengthens, without straining. We are not supposed to be sat rigidly straight against a plank-of-wood desk chair nor are we supposed to be hunched and slumped forward whilst turtling at our computer. This type of mis-positioning is responsible for all sorts of job-related discomfort. Back and neck ache, eye strain and general stiffness or soreness are just a few of the issues that desk workers face.
Of course, the desk themselves are not an issue providing you set yours up correctly, ergonomically speaking. So what causes all those aches and pains?
Well, your biggest problem may be your choice of seating. That’s right; all those tense and tender parts are courtesy of what is under your caboose.
When you get a brand spanking new desk, the first thing you do is get a stately, trendy or “professional” chair to match, but is where you are going wrong.
So how do you ease the pressure on your body and your posture without having to ditch your desk altogether? You switch your seating for a more active alternative. Active seating has been all the rage recently, thanks to a number of published reports explaining the importance of an engaged core and a non-stagnant workday on your overall health and wellbeing.
Read on to see our top three picks of alternative office seating:
These big, bouncy balls are usually associated with core and free weight exercises at the gym, but recently they have been making more and more appearances in office settings. Balance balls are unconventional, to say the least, but they work to strengthen your core, improve your posture and reduce turtling. If you want the best of both worlds, there are even such things as Balance Ball Chairs available – so you can reap all the benefits and look the part.
Being backless makes saddle seats (or stools) a bit of a challenge to sit on; this is a good thing because it automatically encourages your muscles and your posture to work in a specific and correct way. Instead of slumping or hunching in your chair, with a saddle seat you lower your thighs, open your hips and put your spine into a healthy, curved position. By getting you to sit up straighter and keeping all the right bits active and engaged in the right position, you will find a saddle seat makes long days at your desk far more bearable.
A kneeling chair is a superb alternative to the traditional desk chair. Though a little intimidating in appearance, it is perfectly designed to keep you in the best position for body health. Totally cushioned, kneeling has no negative impact on your joints. In fact, it helps you to stay comfortable whilst keeping your spine naturally curved, engaging your back and abdominal muscles and improving your breathing and circulation.
These are just three of the superb alternatives to traditional office seating available. Other types of active seating include balance stools and the Mogo (a half pogo stick/half wheel-free unicycle). At the end of the day, how you sit and what seat you choose will depend on both your specific needs and your personal decorative tastes. Just make sure, when choosing your office seating, you keep health in mind as well as style.