For those who sit at a desk all day, even regular workouts aren’t enough to counteract the ill effects. Sitting for hours on end shaves about twice the time off of our lives than smoking does. In fact, some research shows that smokers had better health markers than other employees because they got up to move every few hours! This isn’t good news for those of us who spend a lot of time working on a computer or at a desk.
In one survey, nearly half of office workers didn’t feel comfortable at their workstations. Prolonged sitting has been linked with exhaustion, hypertension, and musculoskeletal issues in the shoulders, lower back, thighs, and knees.
* Kneeling Chair
While they may look a little odd, kneeling chairs serve a healthy purpose. A kneeling chair takes the weight off of the hips and helps improve and prevent hip joint issues. A study with 20 participants found that kneeling chairs helped the lower spine to stay in alignment better than a regular office chair.
* Saddle Seat
A saddle seat is a minimalistic chair that forces users to have better posture by eliminating a back to lean against. One small study found that those who sat in a saddle seat had better posture and less lower back pain, but hip and buttocks pain was worse. Interestingly, a comparison of chairs in this study showed it didn’t matter which chair was used muscles tended to get sore anyway, just maybe in different areas of the body.
* Balance Stools
A lot of different chairs fit into this category, but the premise is the same. These backless chairs, or stools, feature an unstable seat that constantly prompts users to maintain body balance. These stools are similar to yoga balls in that they tilt and swivel at multiple angles for an active sitting experience. A study comparing multiple chair options found that the balance stool helped promote better neck alignment compared to the other seats.
* Exercise Ball
Exercise balls (also known as yoga or stability balls) have been around since the 1960s but now they are becoming popular especially in office settings. Like balance stools, they encourage active sitting and are thought to engage the core and other muscles. The results are a little more mixed on this desk chair alternative though.
* Ball Chair
This option offers the benefits of an exercise ball, but with a little more to it. Since the ball is resting in a frame it can’t roll away but is still bouncy enough to offer some movement. There’s a small backrest to prevent fatigue for those who need a little more support. It’s also a little less bulky for those who can’t comfortably fit a full size exercise ball into their office space. The wheels on the bottom making moving around the office easier, too.