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What’s an ‘Active’ Office Chair?

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ergonomic chairs,office chairs

Long gone are the days when an office chair was simply an office chair – now these chairs are expected to do ... healthy stuff.

Luckily, the desk chair designers and health gurus of the world are bent on taking boring, passive ergonomic design to the next level by finding more ways to keep us moving, even while you’re so inclined (ahem) to sit still.

How Active Desk Chairs Move

Huffington Post recently ran an article about different types of “active” desk chairs – chairs that assume you don’t want to just sit quietly and stably upright in the same position – and they cover a pretty wide array of options in the growing market. (NOTE: Just in case anyone’s interested, our prices on Zenergy Ball Chairs are better than those quoted in HuffPo … by a lot.)

The stability ball isarguably the godfathers of the active chair movement, bu is now but one of many options designed to keep you on your toes (although not all the way on your toes, which is the job of the standing desk). While the ball chair moves all over the place in an attempt to engage your muscles as you stabilize it, new active office chairs move in specific directions or allow you to adjust the movement to focus your area of strength training.

How Active Desk Chairs (Allegedly) Make You Healthier 

Ergonomic office chairs are all about strengthening core muscles and/or improving posture, and once you understand how that works you can get a pretty good bead on how effective these chairs can be.

The problem with an ordinary chair is … nothing. Generally speaking, we are usually the problem. There’s a “right way” to sit in a chair, but most of us just don’t do it out of habit and a natural desire to seek the path of least physical resistance – most commonly defined by letting gravity do its worst.

Active chairs thwart our tendency to do this by putting us on the floor or making things otherwise uncomfortable if we don’t sit up straight and make an effort.

Why Active Desk Chairs (Might) Matter

We (along with HuffPo and many other websites) have already discussed scientists’ claims that sitting for hours a day in a standard office chair is as bad for you as smoking, and this forms the basis for why we all need a little more instability in our lives when it comes to our office seating.

The bad news, though, is that scientists are less confident about the health benefits of active desk chairs as they are about the lethality of the ordinary kind (which we’ve also discussed in prior posts). Nevertheless, it could be presumed that these new chair designs represent an attempt to improve upon the original stability ball design.

But, of course, it’s all up to us. These chairs aren’t magical; they are only as good for us as we allow them to be. Challenge … accepted!

The Safco "Zenergy Ball" is crafted using an anti-burst stability ball encased in mesh and supported on four legs to give you a bouncy yet controlled active seating experience.

Your bottom goes on top, so to speak, in this top-selling kneeling posture office chair from Flash Furniture.

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