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What Is Active Sitting and How Can You Practice It?

Update Date: Sep 27, 2019 12:11 AM EDT
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Have you heard of active sitting? It may help keep you healthy. Learn how to define and practice active sitting in this guide.

A Harvard study pinned the now-infamous link between sedentary lifestyles and early death. Working your 9-to-5 behind a computer screen is like picking up smoking. You increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and muscular atrophy. 

Most of these boil down to a lack of blood circulation and poor posture. Sitting in your average office chair transfers a lot of stress to your joints. Active sitting looks to kill two birds with one stone.

This is a workplace movement that is spreading beyond the tech industry. Active sitting is more than funky office chairs, it's a change in lifestyle. Here's how you can start becoming more active today.

Top-Down Approach

Creating a more active workplace environment begins with employer policy. If you're self-employed, you should immediately start making these changes. For everyone else, start talking about this with your bosses.

Flexible working policies enable employees to break out of the cycle of sitting for long hours. This means you aren't getting punished for taking breaks when your body is telling you to rest. A lot of office workers will train themselves to ignore signs of injury.

That lower-back pain will only get worse and arthritis is a reality as early as your 20s if your space lacks ergonomics. Breaking the cycle is important for a successful recovery.

The Earlier You Start, The Better

Active sitting starts with getting up and moving around between work sessions. Exercise in the morning is huge because it prepares your mind and body for activity. If you slump down to work, are probably going to feel lazy and unmotivated to exercise.

This early activity will make you feel alert and motivated to keep moving. Next, you can pepper in some mini-breaks at your desk to keep the blood flowing. Standing up, doing squats, and stretches are all simple ways to stay active at your desk.

Investing in some active desk equipment will make things easier, which we will cover later. The recommended daily exercise requirement is only half an hour of moderate activity. It is much easier to accomplish that in 5-10 minute intervals, starting with a morning jog, pushups, and etc.

Make Exercise Fun

The monotony of exercise can become a major obstacle for those trying to change old habits. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools to help transition to active sitting. It's not easy to suddenly break old habits without goals to measure your progress.

You can download apps to help with tracking activity. Some offer incentives through "gamifying" fitness, competitions, and etc. These apps can help you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are, taking the guesswork out of your health.

Another way to make active sitting something enjoyable is to incorporate fun activities. The chair that you sit on can become a fun activity. Exercise balls may provide the bounce you need to get you moving.

Springy seats and off-balance chairs are a few examples of fun ways to keep your core engaged while sitting. Dynamic seats and height-adjustable tables are becoming more common outside of quirky tech spaces. Keeping your mind and body entertained will help break old office habits. 

Teamwork Makes the Difference

One of the best ways to improve activity is to foster a sense of community. Truth be told, group building exercises should be standard in office spaces. Companies that place emphasis on workplace culture reduce turnover. This is especially apparent in Europe, particularly The Netherlands.

Focussing on positive team activities are parts of making a successful workplace. Encouraging trust among workers and manager likewise cultivates a feeling of dedication and responsibility. Active sitting isn't merely an individual activity.

Fitness goals can bring people together who would otherwise only interact in passing. This is a great bonding opportunity among coworkers who all share similar sedentary issues. Coworkers who have been wanting new office furniture, but feel ignored can amplify their voices until management listens.

Balancing Between Sitting and Standing

It's called active sitting because you aren't supposed to go from one extreme to another. Standing all day isn't the answer, especially for those with bad feet, back problems, or heavier frames. Standing desks are a great way to introduce more activity and reap the benefits of standing. 

Standing won't burn much in the way of calories and it could place unnecessary stress on the joints. Some offices have incorporated desk treadmills to keep the blood flowing and calories burning while at work. 

Correcting Poor Posture and Inactivity

It's going to take a lot of time and mental tenacity to reverse the woes of a sedentary lifestyle. Depending on how long you've been working at a desk, you could notice improvements in less than a week. Unlike traditional ergonomic advice to straighten your back, feet flat, and keep elbows straight, active sitting will build core muscles.

The stronger your core, the more support for your spine, and less pressure placed on the joints. When you introduce regular exercise into your daily routine, your mental state changes. All this activity helps balance your hormones and mental chemistry, especially when done in a group setting.

Start Active Sitting, Now!

You don't need a new chair to start benefiting from active sitting. You can start making changes to your work life today. If you follow the steps highlighted in this guide, you can turn back the clock and avoid future health problems.

Take an active role in your mental and physical wellbeing by reading more posts like these right here on our site. You'll find more personal fitness guides, product reviews, and the latest news on health research. Stay active, stay informed, and stay in the driver's seat of your health.

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