This was a real question that we recently got from a client. To put the question in context, she means that if a chair moves whilst you are seated, is that a good thing?
Our answer – a residing ‘yes’! of course it is!
We as humans were not designed to be static, we were designed to move! So, a chair that offers features that encourages movement is only a good thing.
If you sit in a chair that doesn’t move, there is only one direction that you can move and that is forward which often means slouched. This posture (trunk flexion) is the leading cause of lower back discomfort in the world!
If you have a chair that moves, it enables you to move back and forth whilst being fully supported and if you’ve tried it is a lot more comfortable. It encourages blood circulation around the body, more efficient oxygen supply as when the backrest moves back our chest opens up and we are able to breathe better and allows our digestive system to work better because we are not squashing our internal organs. No one wants that do they!
Now, obviously sitting in a chair that encourages movement is great but not for long periods. We still want you to get up out of your chair and move around the office.
Dr. James Levine describes these activities as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). We now know through research that exercise alone is not enough to keep us healthy. Non- exercise, NEAT activity is just as important. Most of your day should be spent doing low intensity, non-exercise physical activity.
“Unfortunately, in our highly digital, mechanized world, NEAT has largely been replaced with time and labour saving devices like lawn mowers, washing machines, cars and fast food. Even our leisure time movement has been undercut: watching a ball game, online shopping, movies and TV are all spent sitting.” Says Carrie Schmitz, Senior Manager of Human Factors & Ergonomics Research, at Ergotron
So, after reading this you should do 3 things.
1. Unlock your chair backrest so that it moves, and you can sit dynamically (don't forget to adjust the tension so you don't fly out of the chair)
2. Get up regularly and move around the office (grab a colleague, get yourself a cuppa and have a walking meeting)
3. Tell your friends (make this your one good deed of the day)