For many people, standard office chairs are uncomfortable. More than just resulting in aches and pains however, sitting at work all day in a typical office chair puts strain on your back and joints. Studies have also correlated long stretches at the desk with increased risk for other health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. While using a chair that is ergonomic to your individual needs often helps most people, here are some alternative types of office chairs to consider.
On the far extreme of the spectrum, some people find that not having a chair at all works for them. Utilized with standing decks, individuals who experience chronic pain from sitting can benefit from working on their feet. Those who use stand up decks often claim increased productivity and energy, and a study in 2013 calculated that this standing work arrangement led to an average of 50 more calories being burnt per hour.
While some stand all day, many also incorporate a foot rest to help with shifting their weight or a stool of some sort for when they want to sit.
A happy medium between no chair at all and your standard office stool, sit-stand stools can be useful in many office situations. Also called stand-up stools, this type of alternative office chair helps you easily switch between standing and sitting while at work. They are designed to help you stay more on your feet and are especially helpful for those interested in making the transition to a standing desk.
Made to function like a horse saddle, this chair has you seated somewhere between a sitting and standing position. Streamlined and backless, saddle chairs encourage a saddle position. This not only prevents you from slouching but can help with circulation problems.
For those who experience lower back pain, saddle chairs can also provide relief. They inherently encourage good sitting posture and strengthen back muscles by naturally opening up the hips and legs, minimizing pressure on the thighs, and setting the spine into a healthy normal curve.
While they might appear difficult to use, supporters of kneeling chairs say that they are quite comfortable and encourage productivity.
Technically the name “kneeling chair” isn’t quite accurate, as you’re not actually kneeling. Designed to relieve pressure on your back, this type of chair angles your thighs forward and uses your shins to evenly distribute your weight. Good kneeling chairs also require you to use your back and abdominal muscles, encourage good posture, and reduce spinal compression and tension in the lower back and legs.
Exercise Ball Chair
While not standard looking, exercise ball chairs are purported to encourage you to sit actively as you have to make small movements and adjustments. Since it’s really hard to slouch while balancing on a ball, this type of office chair makes people have better posture and strengthens your core. Exercise ball chairs also can keep your legs moving and circulation flowing more consistently, and some types come with wheeled bases and backrests.