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We all know that parking our posteriors in a chair for over eight hours a day wreaks havoc on our health – indeed, studies show that people who spend more time sitting are more likely to die earlier from various chronic diseases than those who sit for less than three hours a day.
That’s bad news for office workers, whose jobs are predominantly desk-based.
But, thankfully, there are alternative office chairs that are a lot healthier for your body and help relieve tension build up on your shoulders and back from regular office chairs.
Here are the 10 best office chair alternatives that can improve posture and reverse the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
1. Balance ball chair
At first sight, you might think this office chair alternative belongs in the gym, not the workplace. And while it might take some getting used to, its benefits are aplenty.
The balance ball chair forces you to use your core muscles to support your back and maintain a strong posture; this, in turn, builds the muscles in your lower back, waist, abdomen and glutes.
The plus side? The 52cm yoga ball can be taken out of the chair base and used separately for desk exercises.
2. Treadmill desk
If you can’t fit a workout into your daily schedule, consider investing in a treadmill desk.
Besides being the envy of the office, using a walking desk can improve your mental health, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and improve your mood, while it also helps maintain a strong bone structure.
And if you’re looking to lose some weight, using a treadmill desk can help you burn extra calories.
3. Standing desk
It’s time to take a stand – quite literally – by ditching the sit-down desk and investing in a height-adjustable desk.
Although standing on your feet for eight continuous hours may sound like exhausting work, it’s much healthier for your mind and body. Indeed, standing desks lower weight gain, and they have been shown to burn an additional 174 calories over sitting in a traditional desk chair. That’s not all: standing desks also lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and backpain, and improve energy levels and productivity.
4. Saddle stool
You might be familiar with these chairs from your trip to the dentist’s office, but a saddle stool can work well as a computer desk chair, too.
Without the back support, the stool will help you improve core and muscle strength and also prevent musculoskeletal disorder. Meanwhile, the saddle on the chair requires you to stabilise your body using your legs and pushing you into the correct posture position by preventing your back from hunching.
Meanwhile, you could pair your saddle stool with an adjustable desk, and rotate from sitting to standing and back again every couple of hours to avoid the adverse effects that sitting has on your body.
5. Recliner chair
For workers who suffer from backpain, sitting back in a reclining position may be more effective than sitting upright. Indeed, according to a 2005 study by Munir Nasser, MD, 60% of those with backpain felt less pain while lying down or reclining.
Reclining with your feet elevated also reduces stress and inflammation around your body.
In other words, if you generally feel fatigued, working with a laptop in a reclined position may be the best option for you.
6. Balance stool
One look at this stool, and you might think it’s some kind of circus act equipment.
Despite its appearance, though, it’s actually quite comfortable. And, most importantly, it helps to promote better neck alignment and posture, compared to other ergonomic chairs.
The curved base ensures that your core is always engaged, which helps you to improve your balance and stay stabilised. And it’s much more affordable than other office chairs.
7. Kneeling chair
While the kneeling chair may seem impractical, it actually serves a healthy purpose.
Indeed, by kneeling on your shins, the weight is lifted from your hips and joints; this prevents your glutes from tightening and shortening, which can otherwise have an adverse effect on your back and shoulders, too. By opening the pelvis from tilting forward, you also improve breathing and digestion, and it allows for a much evener distribution of weight.
8. Zenergy ball chair
This modern ball chair not only looks great but makes you feel great, too!
Like the balance ball chair, the Zenergy chair is designed to improve posture, alignment and core strength by forcing you to sit up tall. It also boosts weight loss as you won’t be able to sit still for too long.
Unlike the balance ball chair, the Zenergy ball chair comes with a fabric or vinyl cover, and its funky design makes it a cool addition to any workspace.
9. Bicycle desk
Unlike some of the other office chair alternatives on this list, a bicycle desk will require a lot more energy and motion to operate.
While its effectiveness is heavily debated, a study has shown that using cycling workstations has no real adverse effect on cognition and work performance.
The plus side? You get to burn calories while you type away on your computer!
10. Swopper stool
If you suffer from backpain and poor posture, this substitute for a standard office chair could be a good option.
With a stabiliser and height-adjustment functionality, you can set the stool in a comfortable position. With more freedom for the hips, the stool will keep you more active as you bounce (literally) through the tasks on your to-do list.
Although these office chair alternatives won’t entirely reverse the effects of sitting all day, they are far more healthier options than your average office chair. Not only do you end up using more of your core strength, but you can also ensure that you are doing everything can to live a healthy and balanced life.
Would you like to swap your chair for one of these? Let us know in the comments section below.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 19 November 2015.