Active Chairs vs. Regular Chairs

Active Chairs vs. Regular Chairs

Sometimes it’s great to take risks at the office! For instance, trusting an intern with an important task. If done right there is one less task to do but if done wrong, you will have to redo the task. The rewards far outweigh the potential negative outcome. While other times it is best to not take risks … especially when it comes to your health. 
Office work has been known to increase the risk of sedentary behaviour (which we all know is bad for you) and the risk for musculoskeletal disorders. Over the year’s researchers and Ergonomists have been coming up with solutions to minimize those risks associated with working in an office setting. 

When it comes to office sitting, there are 2 key categories that provide those solutions.  Here, we put them in the hot seat to determine which one will come out victorious!!


Active Chairs

Active chairs are made to decrease sedentary behaviour and minimize back pain. Let’s dive into the research to find out their positive and negative attributes.  
  • When sitting on an active chair you burn more calories and increase your heart rate. How is this good? Both are indicatives of an increase in physical activity
  • They provide more variety for your sitting postures. How is this good? Staying in the same position for a long duration of time has been known to increase your chance for musculoskeletal disorders. 
  • It does not affect work productivity compared to a regular office chair. How is this good? You do not have to compromise work for your physical health. 
  •  “They are fun!” - ErgoMania
  • Introductory period. In order to ensure your comfort while using this type of chair you have to introduce it to your body. Which means, using the chair for a couple of minutes at a time and increasing that time as you get more comfortable with it. 
  • Your spine is subject to more pressure than with an regular chair. This could result in discomfort.
***Fun fact: sleep helps to decompress your spine … another reason getting your 8 hours of sleep is important! *** 


Regular Chairs

“Regular” ergonomic chairs are highly adjustable to be able to accommodate various type of body shapes and sizes. Let’s find out their strength and weaknesses. 
  • Reduce muscle activation. How is this good? This has the potential to reduce fatigue which in turn can result in a longer duration of comfort experienced. 
  • Less spinal pressure than an active/dynamic chair. 
  • No need for periodic introduction, it’s love at first sight.
  •  “Looks professional” – ErgoMania
  • Sitting for a long period of time is not optimal for your health. 
  • You need to have a good understanding of the chair mechanisms to get yourself set-up properly. (Note: this can be taken out of the con list if you have an Ergonomist help). 
Wow, that is a lot to take in! To help you figure out which one is the grand winner, here are a few tips. 
  1. Think of what you value most.
  2. What are your capabilities?
  3. What is your openness to new things?
  4. What comfort level do you want?

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