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2021 Active Chair Guide

Sit Down Move On

As the name implies, Active Sitting involves introducing movement while seated. In the last 15 years, research studies have shown that sedentary behaviors and prolonged sitting are detrimental to your health. More recently, exercise scientists have agreed that activity does not cancel out the negative impact of being sedentary, much like eating an apple does not cancel the effects of smoking a cigarette.

As there is no perfect posture, the recommended consensus is for you to change position as often as possible. As Peter Opsvik - designer of the Varier active chairs - would put it, " The best position is always the next one". Active seats offer this opportunity.


active chair types

Active sitting has multiple benefits. In particular, it promotes the strengthening of core muscles, which reduces the tendency to develop back pain. The constant movement causes muscle contraction, which increases blood flow, leading to better oxygenation, thus energizing both body and mind as you work from home or on the job. 

There are a few distinct active chair types available on the market:

Active tilt chair by HAG

The classic: Tilting chairs

Tilting is what transforms a traditional seat into an active chair. Different models exist, form single point pivot, synchronous tilt or knee tilt. While each of these mechanisms reclines the backrest of the chair, the difference in experience varies significantly.

HAG, Davis, Eurotech, OM or AMQ are brands that offer excellent versions of the tilt function. These chairs are the most popular given their familiar design.

active kneeling chair by varier

The trend setter: Kneeling chairs

Kneeling chairs have been used for over 40 years since Peter Opsvik identified that posture and movement were crucial to better sitting. 

Benefits to the user's posture include an opening the angle between the upper and lower body, decreasing damaging compression loads in the lower back and naturally enhancing the spinal curve

Varier, who distributes Opsvik's designs, is the bestseller in this category as it offers the original and uniquely engineered flexible wood design that also induces constant movement to keep you active. 


Active saddle chair by Salli

The bold statement: Saddle chairs

Saddle chairs, similar to the kneeling chairs, encourage you to sit in an upright position, like that required when riding a horse, where your pelvis is in a neutral upright position and your spine supports your upper body. 

This chair is popular amongst professionals who need to be upright, moving around, but still require all day support. 

The market leader in this category is Salli who offers also a tilt or 360 sway mechanism for increased movement. 

Active sway chair by Corechair

The creative: Sway chairs

Some chairs offer a pivoting sitting surface which provides movement in all directions.

Corechair leads with it's unique, efficient design, which stays close enough to a traditional sitting surface but with a true active mechanism. 


Active stool by Varier

The in-between: Perch stools

Think of it as halfway between sitting and standing when you naturally engage core, back, leg, and hip muscles.

Varier or Corechair offer great stool versions which are loved by sit-to-stand desk owners looking for a simple alternative or an addition to their office chair.

So where do you start?

The many options can seem a bit daunting. Which one will work for you? Do not despair and know that any of these active chairs are a great first step towards a healthier and more productive workspace. You can discover the detailed benefits of each chair in the product information of the different models.


Please feel free to message us or call us (833 888 5289) if you have any questions or would like to discuss which active chair would best suit you!

Download the PDF version 


1)The Futility of the Workout-Sit Cycle by James Hamblin for The Atlantic
2) Active Sitting Guide: 6 Reasons To Really Consider It by Meredith Chandler for the Ergonomics Health Association
3) Synchro Tilt and Other Tilt Mechanisms in an Office Chair Explained by George C in Ergonomic Trends