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Ditch Your Desk Chair: 4 Healthier Ways To Sit In The Office

Posted in: Work-Life-Balance by i2Office on 03rd January 2017

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Standing Desk i2 Office3

 

You may have heard it before, but we’re going to tell you again: sitting in a desk chair is bad for you. It is not a matter of opinion. A study at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen used MRI scans to compare different ways of sitting, and found that sitting up straight or slouched forward (as many of us do at work) produced a “pronounced” disk movement which could lead to chronic back pain.

 

Experts at the hospital, and indeed others worldwide, argue that the sedentary lifestyle encouraged by office jobs is bad for our backs in general. To help combat back pain, here are four healthier ways to sit in the office:

 

Exercise ball

 

Originally conceived as an aide to leg exercise, these large bouncy balls have seen a second wave of popularity as part of an alternative seating movement. Sitting on an exercise ball requires much more muscle activity than sitting in a rigid chair, and these case studies suggest switching to a gym ball really can reduce back pain.

 

Some do worry these results may be inconclusive, and other experts have warned that most first time ball squatters will not have the core strength to sit on one for a whole day. Instead, you should only sit down on an exercise ball for twenty minutes at a time.

 

Standing desk

 

Avoiding sitting down altogether might be a better option. Simply raising your computer gives you the opportunity to work from a standing position, eliminating the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle altogether.

 

According to the Smithsonian, standing desks can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even overall mortality. Also of interest to hard workers: standing at your desk is thought to boost productivity and improve mood and energy levels.

 

Walking treadmill

 

This is likely the healthiest possible alternative to a conventional office chair. What better way to combat modern sedentariness than by walking all day. As the BBC reports, walking desks are becoming increasingly popular at the California headquarters of companies like Google, Microsoft and Evernote.

 

They see employees walk at a slow pace—up to 4mph—for the entire day in the hopes of stimulating blood flow and increasing health. As with the exercise balls, some users have found they need to take regular breaks when they work on treadmills, but they are still a vast improvement over traditional desk chairs, and even an improvement on simply standing up.

 

Ergonomic office chair

 

The solution to your office chair woes might be simpler than you think. Though sitting in a standard chair is bad for your back and your health, a chair designed with ergonomics in mind is far better for you.

 

Ergonomic office chairs use biometrics to increase lumbar support, enable easy movement and generally alleviate the problems associated with sitting down as best they can. With many quite sceptical of the likelihood that treadmills, balls or standing will catch on, ergonomic office chairs have been hailed as “the future”.