Active Sitting: Saddle Seats
How is your active sitting going? While taking more breaks throughout the day seems like a no-brainer, sometimes it’s just impossible to get away from your desk. We receive dozens of calls and emails each week asking what can be done to help alleviate the discomfort of sitting for 8 - 10 hours per day for those who plainly can’t leave their desk as often as they’d like.
Our responses to these questions usually vary depending on what type of work environment someone is in. One option people return to time and again is a saddle seat. And, as users of the HAG Capisco chair we couldn’t agree more.
The American market is catching up to what workers in Europe and Australia have known for years: a flat, deep seat pan isn’t necessarily the best way to work—it’s certainly not the most ergonomic.
So, what makes a saddle seat a good choice for my new task chair?
Glad you asked.
Saddle seats allow your legs to rest down in front of you rather than positioning the thighs directly in front, parallel to the floor. In other words, the cutouts let gravity do its job on the legs, letting the legs settle downward with the knees ending up below the waist in an open angle position. This position allows you to more evenly distribute your weight throughout the lower half of your body instead of relying on your lower back to keep your spine aligned. An open hip angle encourages proper spine alignment, facilitating not just better posture, but better breathing and circulation.
Saddle seats (along with kneeling chairs) do a remarkable job of helping your spine stay in alignment. Because your body has to work a little bit harder in a saddle seat—keeping your spine aligned properly requires more from your core muscles than a traditional chair—these types of chairs naturally facilitate active sitting without the user thinking much about it throughout the day.
Plus, it just feels better than slouching back in a chair for several hours per day.
We’ll be following up with specific saddle seat recommendations in the next couple days. In the mean time, we’d love to hear what your favorite saddle seat is in the comments.
Update: Our post on specific saddle seats is available here.