Remember when using a fitness ball office chair was all the rage? Office furniture manufacturers were probably panicking over the idea that a $12 ball could replace a $1200 chair. As it turns out, using a ball all day long isn’t necessarily a good idea. There are no arms on the ball to help keep a worker’s wrists at an ergonomic angle for keyboard use. There is no lumbar support to help reduce slouching. Plus, using a ball all day might actually cause more discomfort and lead to new types of back dysfunction. Then, there’s the risk that a worker will simply fall off the ball and hurt themselves. Here are three “balanced” options to consider instead.
Active Chair Hybrid
The Active Chair from Balance King seeks to provide the core strengthening and posture enhancing effects of a fitness ball without forgoing the benefits of a traditional office chair. It looks like a normal chair with a supportive back, height-adjustable padded seat, and practical plastic arms. However, the seat can dip slightly from the horizontal axis in any direction to help activate the back and abdominal muscles as well as the thighs. If fatigue sets in, the seat can be locked in place to remove unwanted motion.
Humantool Saddle Seat
Want to turn any office chair into a piece of “core workout” equipment? Instead of buying a whole new chair, just add a Humantool Balance seat. According to the manufacturer, this seat modifier is “anatomically designed to teach you a correct, vigorous, and upright posture.” There are two benefits of this option. First, if you have a cheap chair, you might upgrade it at a fairly low cost with this tool. Second, if you have a really expensive chair with bells and whistles like adjustable arms, you don’t have to get rid of it to enjoy the Balance seat as well.
Keeping Your Balans
A kneeling chair is another popular option for those who don’t want to be overly reliant on a chair back to control their posture. There are dozens of designs, but one of the most attractive is probably the Varier Thatsit Balans. It was conceptualized by Peter Opsvik, a Norwegian furniture designer and a saxophonist (that explains the smooth and stylish curves!) It’s not for the tender-shinned, but those who enjoy a forward-positioned posture swear by the kneeling chair. Sadly, this one will set you back a cool $1200–and it’s custom made so you can’t return it if you don’t like it!