7 Alternatives to Sitting in a Desk Chair

By Steve Graham, Hometalk

A recent University of South Carolina study found that sitting at work all day is connected with heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes and other serious disorders. Sitting in a typical office chair can also cause long-term problems for the back and other joints.† However, there are plenty of good alternatives available, including standing, more back-friendly sitting and working out while working.

Standing workstations

Standing workstations are gaining in popularity. Standing all day may take some practice, but it is healthier than sitting, and burns more calories.† A variety of antique standing desks are available, as they were quite popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many contemporary desks have keyboard stands and other accessories, and can be adjusted to a variety of heights. DIY buffs can get creative by converting tall bar tables or other items into standing workstations. A final option is to make or buy desktop platforms that convert regular workstations into standing workstations.

Kneeling chairs

If standing all day seems too difficult, you can at least relieve pressure on your back with a kneeling chair. Kneeling chairs tilt the thighs forward while forcing users to use their shins to support some of their weight. Kneeling chairs typically do not have backrests. The design is meant to improve spinal alignment and reduce lower-back strain, though some studies have shown little benefit. The first kneeling chair was the Balans chair, developed in 1979. Since then, a variety of models have been created.

Saddle chairs

Another ergonomic variation on the office chair is the saddle chair, which has no backrest and is shaped like a horseís saddle. Users straddle the chair and sit higher than in most desk chairs, requiring an adjustable desk set to a height in between a standing workstation and a standard desk. Again, these chairs are designed to reduce lower back pressure. They also force users into better posture, as slouching forward is difficult on a saddle. Split saddle chairs also are available. They are meant to reduce pressure and heat around the genitals, so may be healthier.

Recliner chairs

Working in a La-Z-Boy chair may seem even less healthy, and certainly less active, than sitting in a traditional desk chair. However, some people with back pain are only comfortable in a recliner with their feet propped up. For these people, rolling desks can swivel out over the recliner. Recliner workers can also just work on a laptop computer, though experts advise using cushions between the hot laptop base and the lap.

Exercise ball chairs

I canít help but think of my childhood hopping ball when I think of an ergonomic ball chair. However, these balls are not all fun and games. They are a serious alternative to the desk chair that promotes active sitting and better posture. Some exercise ball chairs just look like oversized playground balls, while others have backrests and are attached to wheels.


Finally, the Fitdesk allows you to get a serious workout all day at work. It is a combination stationary bicycle and workstation that allows users to surf the web, work or play video games while working out.

Get up and move

If you must sit in a desk chair a day, experts suggest getting up and moving once every hour.† Do a few jumping jacks, stretch out your limbs and get your blood flowing.† One expert recommends fidgeting while sitting, since it burns calories.† A half-hour of walking does not offset eight hours of sitting behind a desk.† The good news is, every minute of exercise counts, and any physical activity you can do during the work day will help your health.

7 Alarming Facts About Sitting
Sitting Exercises for the Office
8 Simple Office Stretches
Image: zappowbang/stock.xchng


Jo S.
Jo S2 years ago

Thank you.

Jo S.
Jo S2 years ago

Thank you.

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago


Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Keep moving

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey3 years ago

I think the main point is that one shouldn't stay in any one position for any length of time. The body needs exercise and circulation.

Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago


Karen Ryan
Karen Ryan3 years ago

Great ideas.

Christine V.
Christine V3 years ago


Emily N.
Emily N.5 years ago

If you're looking for a great ergonomic chair, Aeron chairs are probably one of the best! I've had a few back problems from sitting in my office chairs with terrible posture over the years. It took a lot of exercise and posture correction to get my back feeling better, but I think it definitely helped that I switched to Aeron chairs!

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago