There is more and more research coming out all the time about the negative side effects of sitting all the time.
Because of that, we are all looking for ways to keep our time spent sitting down to a minimum, which means that manufacturers are looking to change the way that we look at office spaces including the leaning chair.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest changes to the modern office is the leaning chair.
It is less sedentary, more ergonomic, and more active than just about any conventional office chair has the capability of being.
There are more than a few of these cool, unique-looking chairs out there and they are getting more and more popular with each passing day.
What Is a Leaning Chair?
Despite their rise in popularity, there may be a decent chance that you don’t know what a leaning chair is.
Leaning chairs are unmistakable in the fact that they are uniquely weird-looking or very striking.
But the simple fact of the matter is that they all rely on the same basics in terms of mechanisms.
Instead of asking their users to stand or sit, the leaning chair combines the two.
It does look as though it leans, with users being mostly upright but their weight being supported in two ways.
Two-thirds of their weight is supported by their feet with the remaining third being supported by the chair.
So, this angled seat, if it is used properly, will have the user settling back against them.
There are some leaning chairs where it is impossible to use them in another way.
There might be a temptation to sit on top of some of the leaning stools out there as if they were the normal chairs we have come to know, but that would result in a fall you may not have seen coming.
The Benefits of Leaning Chair
There is a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to working in an office.
It’s a good idea to not be sitting all day but being on your feet all day isn’t exactly the best for you, either. So, it leaves office workers with the question of what to do.
There are plenty of insoles and anti-fatigue mats out there that can help those who use standing desks mitigate the impact of being on their feet all day.
Even then, there is the simple fact of the matter that we all need to sit down at some point.
Alternating between the two, as well as taking a couple of walks per day, can be ideal though it can be something of a hassle.
This is why the hybrid nature of leaning chairs can be so potentially beneficial.
Not only do they let you get up off your rear, but they don’t put nearly as much pressure on your feet, knees, and joints from standing for hours on end.
When you have a leaning chair, it means that you can keep a decent amount of weight on your legs, which can break them out of that sedentary slumber, but keeps them comfortable enough that you won’t start to feel it in your feet, knees, and joints.
The vast majority of companies within the leaning chair space will say that their products are “back-friendly.”
That is because the leaning chair promotes a more open hip angle.
This hip angle is somewhere between the full vertical of standing and the right angle of sitting.
This can help improve the curvature of the back while also providing proper alignment, all of which can take the pressure off of the lumbar region.
Leaning chairs also happen to be quite flexible, which allows for a lot more movement than the traditional chair ever would.
Because of the extra movement, muscles near the back can remain engaged, which keeps the spine from compressing and ultimately causes back pain.
Though things never quite work out as they do in theory, the leaning chair can still be beneficial.
Sure, there is a chance to hunch as you would in a chair, but posture remains one of the great challenges facing people.
One of the popular innovations in recent years is the treadmill desk. The treadmill desk is a great way to get off your rear and get moving from time to time.
Having a leaning chair is a great complement to this kind of setup.
It is ideal to alternate between sitting and standing every hour or two, adding in a few walks here and there.
This is where the idea of the treadmill workstation can get a little confusing.
But having a desk that is at least 65” (72” is more optimal) that can fit both a treadmill and chair side by side is optimal.
That said, it isn’t the most efficient for those who have limited office space.
Those users will likely just grab a stool or basic chair to fit on their treadmill, but that isn’t a good idea.
Any chair that fits in the 18” to 21” space that resides between the rails of the treadmill will find that there isn’t enough ergonomic adjustment to accommodate.
Not only that, but it may damage the belt of the treadmill or even be too unsafe to use. Even if it feels just a little unsafe, that can be enough to distract you and become an issue.
That said, there is an ergonomic chair that is very ergonomically adjustable, completely safe to use on a walking treadmill, and is very comfortable, thanks to a thermosensitive polyurethane seating material that conforms to the shape of the sitter.
It works as a chair for walking treadmills but it is quite a bit more expensive than some of the other options out there. Not only that, but it is a lot more expensive than most of the leaning chairs out there.
There are also stand-sit stools out there that can work for a walking treadmill.
These have a pneumatic cylinder, which allows them to act not only as a chair but as a perching stool as well. It isn’t as expensive as the chair, and it allows users to stand or sit comfortably.
The main drawback of the sit-stand stool is that it doesn’t have the all-day comfort that something with more ergonomic flexibility would provide.
For users who are required to sit for extra-long periods -- some call centers require workers to take 24-hour shifts -- there is no perfect option.
But both are excellent choices to accommodate the treadmill desk.
There are some stools out there that fall into a new line of active seating. These are particularly popular as an option for those who want treadmill top seating.
These kinds of stools are more comfortable than some of the other options out there and they also tend to be a lot less expensive as well.
They also come in a wide array of coloring and are versatile enough that they can be used in both a home and office space at a treadmill desk.
You may also hear leaning chairs referred to as “perching stools” ‘from time to time.
These are more of a designer option, and they have a lot of key advantages over the traditional office chairs that we know.
You can use one of these with an adjustable-height desk and will pick up a few details right off the bat.
They’re quite easy to use, for starters, making it easy to move back and forth.
They also have small footprints, which means that they can work on most walking treadmills.
It also means better weight distribution, protecting your treadmill and your legs.
Mind the Tilt
Since it is one of the newer products on the market, it takes a little bit of time to get used to everything.
Most of the leaning chairs out there are not all that compatible when it comes to fixed-height sitting desks since they are too short to accommodate the leaning position.
To use a leaning chair, you would need to have an adjustable height desk that switches between the standing and sitting positions.
After that, the first thing that you need to do is to set your new chair to the proper height.
This takes a little bit of time to find the proper ergonomic “sweet spot,” but the leaning chair that you buy should have a few guidelines that you can reference.
The goal is to find as wide an angle as you can achieve.
Remember that sitting in a chair normally entails the 90-degree angle that most of us are looking to avoid.
Trying to achieve a wider, more open-angle is what will keep your back protected and take some of the unwanted pressure off of your feet.
It takes time but finding a chair height that works best is possible. Just change up the leaning angle whenever you are looking to take a sitting break.
Another thing worth noting is that the vast majority of leaning chairs that are currently on the market fall under a category known as “active chairs.”
Since they make use of spring joints, rubber balls, or swivels, it means getting a little more movement than you would typically get with the standard office desk chair.
Active seating isn’t exactly a new thing. It has produced more than its share of fads that aren’t exactly healthy, either (such as those exercise balls we have all heard about).
But implementing a leaning stool is safer while also providing a more ergonomic approach to the world of active seating.
There are corrective micromovements to be aware of that will take some time to get used to to create a steadier feeling while using them.
But those small corrective movements can help to strengthen and stimulate core muscles, which can help prevent atrophy from happening.
There is one potentially interesting downside that does come with the leaning chair. They can introduce their unique brand of muscle strain into your normal sitting session.
When you lean at an angle, it means that your feet aren’t quite as perpendicular to your legs as they would normally be.
The constant force that is applied to the leg muscles since your feet will still be bearing around two-thirds of the weight can lead to the form of shin splints over time.
Some leaning chairs come with their footboard, which can help keep your feet and legs perpendicular while you are leaning.
Some leaning chairs aren’t technically active since they have a cylinder post that is fixed into a vertical position. That means no shin splints or having to deal with squished toes.
The Final Word
There is a lot to like about the leaning chair as an alternative to the traditional chairs that we are all familiar with in office spaces.
There are a ton of ergonomic seating options out there to choose from in addition to the leaning chair.
The goal is to achieve better office fitness that keeps our back, legs, and feet from wearing down quite so quickly.
It is ideal to familiarize yourself with the variety of options out there. You will find a ton of really great active chairs even if they don’t technically qualify as a leaning chair.
Just keep in mind that a lot of active chairs don’t quite work in conjunction with an office treadmill.
That said, on paper, a leaning chair is a great option for bringing a little movement into your work day while also providing the proper back ergonomics needed to prevent painful issues from creeping up.
The reality of the situation is that your own experience can vary depending on the chair.
When checking out leaning chairs, make sure that you are checking out the reviews to see which one fits your needs the best.
But there is nothing quite like getting a leaning chair and trying it out for yourself.