Pretty much everyone who works an office job has heard the news: Sitting eight hours a day is killing you. Okay, maybe it’s not killing you today, but studyafter study show that sitting is detrimental to your health, even if you try to counter-balance it with a lot of exercise in your spare time.
What do you need to make a change?
The answer might be an adjustable standing desk, one that lets you easily transition between sitting and standing—or better, one that tracks just how long you’ve been sitting and tells you when it’s time to switch positions.
Another solution might be to walk while you work, and indeed, there are now work stations that allow you to do just that.
Of course, standing or walking while you work for eight or ten hours a day is unreasonable. At some point, you’ll want to sit at least for a little while. That’s where active chairs come in. These alternatives to traditional office chairs adjust your posture by engaging your legs and core muscles, so that sitting becomes active. Plain old yoga balls come to mind as a decent alternative to a traditional office seat, but they aren’t usually designed for office spaces, and they certainly aren’t the only option.
In fact, there are some great furniture choices out there that combine healthy options with attractive design (sorry, yoga ball). I’ve rounded up four of the more interesting alternative desks and chairs. The right one can transform your office or work space from a sloucher’s paradise into a more healthy and fitter environment.
Stir Kinectic Desk
Sit-stand desks typically aren’t very smart, but the Stir Kinectic Desk is. It knows how long you’ve been sitting and prompts you to stand up when it’s time, and then it raises itself to a custom height that you set. A smart, built-in touch screen uses Bluetooth to connect to Fitbit devicesso the desk knows when you’re approaching and knows if you’ve had a long run this morning and could use some time in your chair. There are two versions of the Stir desk: the original Stir Kinectic F1 (shown) and the new, less expensive M1. The major differences are in shape—the F1 is rectangular while the M1 has a curved edge—as well as price and material quality (the F1 is hand finished).
Technogym Wellness Ball – Active Sitting
When you do need to sit at work, there are healthier alternatives to standard chairs, options that keep your core engaged and your back strong. We love the Technogym Wellness Ball for its simple design but smart features, like a removable and durable anti-bacterial slip cover. A weighted bottom also keeps the ball from rolling across the room when you stand up. It’s a little pricier than other yoga ball chairs, but it’s also designed with more consideration for what you actually need in a stability ball chair in the office, rather than the gym.
LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk Combination
If you never take a break, eat meals at your desk, and answer your mobile phone in the bathroom, then you might be a workaholic, and you probably need some help squeezing more movement into your day. A treadmill desk like theLifeSpan TR1200-DT5might be the answer. The desk on this unit isn’t directly attached to the treadmill, so it doesn’t shake during use. The TR1200-DT5 model counts, records, and displays the actual number of steps you take (in addition to total distance traveled), and has a feature that automatically stops the belt when you step off. While treadmill desks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea—nor are they suitable for certain kinds of work—they can help very busy and time-strapped professionals stay healthier.
After listening to this episode of 99 Percent Invisible, I became obsessed with balance stools. I’ve been hunting for an affordable but beautiful one to add to my home office desk, and the Buoy might be it. Balance stools like the Buoy are active chairs, similar to yoga balls. The Buoy is designed to tilt from 5 to 12 degrees, wobble, and swivel. One of the benefits of tilting stools is that they get your spine and body out of the C shape that it tends to be in when you sit in traditional chairs, which is better for you in that time you do need to sit because—let’s be real—you can’t stand all day long.