As we all know, sitting statically without moving is very detrimental for our health. We are at a higher risk of developing poor posture, bad circulation and even having muscles deteriorate or atrophy over time.
Recent research also identifies static sitting being responsible for increased risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Bottom line – don’t sit all day.
As a direct result of this research, there has been a trend within commercial office environments to evolve to using standing workstations instead of the traditional workstation / work surface being used with a standard office chair. In theory this makes sense i.e. sitting all day is bad, therefore standing all day is good right? Not necessarily so.
There is evidence that suggests that when one is standing statically for long periods, this requires the joints to be loaded on for longer than is healthy, which can lead to joint strain. It is also possible to get into negative or bad postural positions when standing e.g. incorrect leaning on elbows, overloading one side of the body versus the other and the like.
Now research shows that you are in greater risk of developing congestive / heart issues if you stand statically all day. Stands to reason (no pun intended) that when you are standing statically for long periods of time, the heart has to work much harder to pump blood from your feet, against gravity, all the way up to your brain. This is more difficult for the heart when one is standing.
So what is the true solution? Quite simply, it’s motion. Staying in movement allows your larger muscle groups to be active. If you can incorporate motion into your workday, be it standing or sitting, you reduce the risks of everything we just mentioned.
Ideally, transitioning from a sitting position to a standing position several times throughout the day is best of all. It takes a lot of energy and muscle activity to move from a sitting to standing position. This is good.
In the example of standing, if you can incorporate motion (say for example when you use muvman stool) this allows you to take the load off your joints periodically and access multi-dimensional movements (vertical, lateral and forward tilt) easily.
This in turn activates your larger muscle groups (the core, leg muscles and the like) that activate your vein pumps, and takes some of the workload of pumping blood off of your heart muscle. Makes sense right?
If you prefer a sitting position, then using a swopper will allow you to incorporate movement with it’s multi-dimensional spring movement. Even better, in combination, both Swopper and Muvman offer you access to multi-dimensional movement for either sitting or standing, reducing your risk of health issues associated with being static or sedentary.
So, what’s the best solution to the sitting/standing problem? Add as much movement to your day as you possibly can even when you are required to sit or stand. Having large muscle activity stimulates better circulation with reduced workload on your heart, while reducing your overall risks associated with being sedentary.
~Nora Fenlon, VP Sales & Marketing
One of my favorite parts of my job is traveling to trade shows and conference where attendees can visit our booth and sit on a swopper for the first time. Seeing their expression after that first moment of bouncing, tilting and swaying on a swopper is priceless.
Here are the four most common first reactions I see people have with the swopper.
“This chair is so fun to sit on!”
I can honestly say every time I’ve witnessed someone sit on a swopper for the first time, their immediate reaction is a BIG SMILE followed by “this is fun!” Often we’ll hear that the movement of the swopper reminds them of their childhood toys – think pogo stick, hippity hop, jump rope, wagons, rocking horses, and wobble boards (all the toys that kept us moving as children).
“There are a lot of health benefits to the swopper, huh?”
Other times, people’s immediately focus when sitting on the swopper is the fact that they are working their core and their back posture is feeling better and that this “fun” item could actually be a very beneficial health and wellness tool – one they could incorporate anywhere (office or home).
When I’m dealing with chiropractors or others within the healthcare industry, they can pretty much assume what the swopper will be doing before they even sit on it. Yet again…they even get the BIG SMILE.
“This chair looks so unique.”
Sometimes people’s first reaction is solely based on the look of the swopper. It’s as if it’s some alien device, and they aren’t sure how to approach it. However, once you explain how it moves and gently prod them to give it a try….wait, here it comes…the BIG SMILE happens once again!
The swopper is definitely a conversation piece and the design alone commands attention.
“My kids would love this.”
The fourth impression I’m receiving more of these days is coming from parents. Parents with kids who love to play video games…for hours! Yes, our kids choices of toys has changed dramatically these days. Unfortunately for many, these video games are taking the place of all the active physical fun things we should be encouraging.
Enter swopper. Parents are looking at swopper with the thought “If they are going to be sitting for hours playing video games, lets at least put them on a swopper, which would encourage them to move while playing.
And yes, I’ve seen young adults try swopper and again….a BIG SMILE!!
The bottom line is … Swopper = Fun = 🙂
If you’d like to give a swopper a try and experience that BIG SMILE yourself, we are offering free returns through October 9. No risk, no hassle, just pure fun.
~ Sandra Bowie, Motion Seating Director
Working at Swopper means health & wellness is always on my mind. I love helping our customers improves their lives with Swopper, and of course you’ll find me “swopping” all day.
Beyond the innovation of Swopper, I turn to technology to help achieve my personal fitness goals as well. Since I know many of our readers are also health-conscious types, I decided to collect a list of my top five apps that help you stay fit & healthy. From tracking my sleep, recording my workouts and measuring what I eat, the apps listed below have helped improve my overall health and wellbeing.
- Garmin Connect – for those that want everything in one spot, this app (tracking band not included but is necessary) tracks everything from your heart rate, steps per day, calories and even watches you while you sleep (to monitor your sleep habits). In addition you can also set goals for yourself and get a monthly breakdown of your progress. All in all, this one gets first place in my book.
- Calorie Counter by My Fitness Pal fits in nice for those that aren’t quite as motivated as the fitness guru next door. This app helps you focus on your diet and nutrition by telling you exactly what that apple & peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel amounts to by way of calories. With 3,000,000 foods on the list, this app is easy to navigate.
- Couch-to-5K by Active Network – For all you who do better with an end goal in mind, this program is used to motivate you to start slow and get moving up to your 5K goal! If you need a little push daily to get where you ultimately want to be, this one is for you.
- Water your body – We all know hydration is an important part of overall wellness. This app makes a water pouring noise to remind you that you should be filling up that glass of water and drinking it down. I added this one to my phone and within 5 minutes my entire office had the app on their phones.
- Squat Workout!! This is a great personal trainer app, if your goal is to have an encouraging coach who gets you into shape AND allows you to stay out of the public eye. It walks you through a daily workout in the privacy of your home.
Those are my top five favorites, have more that you want to share? Tell me about it! If you can motivate this girl to do more than Swop on my Swopper at work, I want to hear about it.
Jenn Lytle – Director of Customer Service (and no
When people hear the story of how the idea for swopper came to be, I often get asked (as its inventor), “How did you get the idea to combine motion with sitting?”
I tell them that it all comes back to what I know to be true as an engineer. If you look up the definition of engineering you’ll see it’s “the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes.”
When I was working on swopper for five years in my garage … yes you read that right, my garage! I wanted to focus on bringing scientific AND social/practical knowledge together to create a chair that truly supports the human body.
I knew to accomplish this, we had to examine the central issue with sitting and create a paradigm shift. In a conventional seat, your body has to adapt to the shape and movements the chair allows for – mostly synchro – mechanic. Our goal was to create chairs that adapts to and follows your natural body movement, as that seemed much more natural.
In our whole evolution we never have been fixed and immobile like we are now, stuck behind a desk all day. Our whole body was optimized for movement, through natural selection, over hundred thousands of years.
Since our ancestors raised their bodies and started to walk on two legs instead of four, we have had to keep equilibrium. Our vestibular system developed together with the brain, and we know a good functioning vestibular system is essential for the good functioning of the brain.
When creating the swopper, we “copied” from evolution the 3 dimensional movement and need to have to keep equilibrium. With swopper, you are sitting in an unstable equilibrium, as the pivot point of the chair is below your seat. Thus your body has constantly to adjust the equilibrium slightly. This keeps you alert, like in nature, where you have to react permanently to all kind of influences. Your cognitive performance increases and you burn more calories.
So you see, while a great deal of work and science went into creating the swopper, in reality the answer to the issue of sitting and health has been apparent since the beginning of time. Humans are meant to move, and the swopper is the natural way to meld our body’s basic needs with the demands of a modern life.
As an engineer and human, I’m proud that swopper is the perfect combination of science and evolution.
~Josef Glockl, swopper Inventor
As a CEO, I feel it’s my job to not only drive the business goals and objectives, but to provide a healthy, stimulating workplace where my employees can thrive. Ultimately, for me, the goal of the office environment is to support a productive, energized, and motivated team.
One of the main ways to accomplish this goal is to have a healthy team. It’s no surprise that a healthy, energized team is also a productive team. The way I see it, health and wellness are the new “Green,” as productivity goes hand in hand with healthy habits and a healthy work environment.
At swopper.com we care about the health and wellness of the individual and see this as the key to creating a productive work environment. While corporations are focusing on providing healthy options for employees, like organic lunches, discounted gym memberships and access to outdoor areas, one thing routinely ignored is the actual office set up.
Employees are given cubicles and standard office chairs to spend 8+ hours in a day. They sit in front of a computer for long stretches, straining both their eyes and their backs. All this sitting leads to weak muscles, poor circulation and of course, lowered productivity.
Think about it, when do you feel you are working your best? When you are energized and moving? Or when you are stationary for prolonged amounts of time? The improved circulation from movement provides mental clarity, improved mood and better focus.
One way you can have an immediate impact on your employee’s productivity is through the use of an ergonomic motion-seating chair, like the swopper, Muvman or 3Dee. When fully utilized, these chairs fight the “Sitting Disease” and all the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
The movement, day-after-day, week-after-week, that these chairs encourage, have a cumulative positive affect on your health and wellness. At the end of the day you feel more refreshed, less fatigued, and ready for what comes next. Both your team and the company benefits as the productivity and overall health of your team improve.
To find out more about how you can provide your team with motion seating options, contact us at 1.855.272.5074.
~Chas Hepler, CEO
Whenever we introduce swopper or one of our other motion seating chairs to someone for the first time, we usually get asked “who thought of this idea?” It’s a question we love to answer, because the story behind the creation of the swopper is genuine, authentic and explains exactly why there is so much passion behind this chair.
The story begins in Germany in 1997. Josef Glockl, a renowned engineer, was spending long days in his office … sitting. Like so many others at the time, Josef used a traditional office chair to do his sitting and pretty soon the negative affects crept in. Despite being active in the evenings through sports, Josef started to suffer with lower back pain, just like 80% of the population in Germany did.
While others suffering from back pain may turn to medications, Josef had a secret weapon to help in his quest to solve his pain … his wife. It was lucky for him, and in the end for so many other people, that Josef’s wife is a renowned physiotherapist and osteopath. Dorothea Prodinger-Glockl knew exactly why Josef was having issues … Josef was sitting far too much.
Dorothea knew that the fact that the majority of the population has a daily pattern of static sitting goes against all of human beings natural patterns of movement. As hunter and gatherer, the human being is made for walking, running, bending and stretching etc. This is good because from the start of man’s history, surviving has involved intensive movement.
But, then came the problem – hours of sitting started to become the predominant activity of the human being. This leads to numerous disorders and at the top of the list – BACK PROBLEMS!!
Together, Josef and Dorothea set out to create a chair that would allow Josef to conduct his work, while remaining active. And so grew the idea of a seat that makes movement possible while sitting and in fact actively encourages movement.
The road from vision to success was long and hard. Years of expensive development work (paid out of his own pocket), the search for a designer competent enough to tackle the unique challenge of technology and form along with the inevitable struggle through bureaucratic red tape.
Josef battled on. He founded the company aeris gmbh, found a backer and a young designer, who helped bring his and Dorothea’s dream into a reality. The first chair to be completed was the swopper, the 3 dimensional active seat. National and international awards and recognition soon followed the introduction of swopper in 1997, with scientific tests and medical reports. Josef Glockl’s perseverance and his belief in his invention were finally paying off.
Then came the muvman, a variable height sit to stand active stool. Most recently introduced is the 3Dee Active-Office-Chair, which takes all the great features of the swopper, and adds some new ones, taking the active sitting philosophy more mainstream.
Success stories in the furniture industry have become rare; even rarer when coupled with genuine innovation. Josef Glockl has managed to achieve both. He has revolutionized sitting with his inventions while achieving true cutting edge innovation.
~ Sandra Bowie, Motion Seating Director
The Swopper staff has one thing in common … our love for what we do. We all feel lucky to work for a company that is on the forefront of health and wellness in the workplace. We thought it would be nice to let you, our faithful blog readers, get to know some of our team through a “Swopper staff spotlight” each month.
Kicking off our first staff spotlight is warehouse manager Derrick Mastalka.
What can I say about Derrick? He is literally the person who keeps our company moving along by handling all the workload of prepping our chairs for shipment out to customers across the country. While most of us are working at our computer, Derrick is working hands on with the chairs to ensure they’re perfect when our customers open the box.
Derrick says his favorite part of his job working in the Swopper warehouse is finding out that he has done well with his part of the process. Our team is a big interconnected network, and Derrick knows that if one part of the process goes awry, the whole thing crumbles.
Derrick also does our custom Swoppers, which is when we embroider a special message or logo onto a chair. These types of orders take a lot of precision and attention, which shows in the work Derrick does. Here’s Derrick hard at work on a custom Swopper.
In his spare time, Derrick can be found tearing up the hills doing what he loves most- off-roading on his 4×4. Just don’t get too close; he works hard and plays harder! During the work-week though, you can find him decompressing by passing the time challenging others in the world of online gaming.
We’re thankful that Derrick is part of our team here at Swopper. We all know we can rely on him 100% to bring the highest level of customer service to every part of his job. Thanks, Derrick!
Stay tuned for another post featuring one of our awesome Swopper staff members.
~ Jenn Lytle, Director of Customer Service and Social Marketing
The office is one of the last bastions of conformity. Most often, the workforce is tied to the corporate identity, leaving little room for individuality. Outwardly, this can be seen as everyone sitting in the same type of chair, in the same cubicle set up, with the same desk. It is part of the company culture they say. It allows everyone to be treated the same. It is supposed to support harmony, avoid distractions, and enable everyone to focus.
But does it? We all have different work styles. Some prefer absolute silence in order to concentrate, while others like to listen to music. Some like to move, bounce and tap their feet while concentrating, while others sit completely still. Some like to work alone without distractions of their peers, while others benefit from bouncing ideas off coworkers.
At some of today’s most innovative companies, like Google and Apple, individuality in the workplace is supported and employees are given a plethora of options within the workplace to drive productivity. These options include, wifi enabled shuttle buses, coffee shop-types of lunchrooms were you can work all day, hobby rooms, quiet rooms, and even bars where coworkers can mingle. All these are attempts to adapt to employees individual work styles and work preferences.
At Swopper, we want to take this a step further. Even in companies lucky enough to have the kind of themed work areas listed above, employees still end up spending a lot of time at their desks in front of a computer. At the desk is where we need options, flexibility, and the freedom to choose what we are going to sit on for 8 hours a day. This is where a real difference in productivity is made.
We see an opportunity to help companies work with employees to customize their workspace to improve wellbeing and productivity. Swopper and Muvman provide healthy, productive, fun, and comfortable seating solutions that meet the needs of every type of worker, including those that prefer a traditional office chair with more movement, a height adjustable stool for a stand up desk set up, a light stool that can travel with them around to various rooms and on and on.
In addition to helping provide staff with options for how they want to sit during the day, motion-seating chairs like Swopper and Muvman, provide health and wellness benefits that increase productivity, lower insurance claims and make for happier employees.
Everyone likes to choose and have the freedom to decide what they are going to sit on for 8 plus hours a day, so maybe it’s time for more cutting edge companies to encourage their employees to break the “traditional” office chair mold, and start providing more options.
Just imagine the smiles you’d see at a company where everyone was bouncing, swaying and tilting vs sitting stationary for eight hours a day.
~ Chas Hepler, CEO and workplace non-conformist
We have known for years that the Swopper three dimensional motion stool was light years ahead of its time in North America. While consumers and businesses found it intriguing, it was often viewed as a novelty or just a really cool, fun looking stool.
Well, I’m happy to say that the past few years have started to reveal a whole new appreciation for this funky, fun, yet healthy motion stool. We have seen more and more articles about the dangers of sitting in the media, a mass acceptance of alternative seating options and professional industries begin to think critically about the benefits of motion for their employees.
One industry that has picked up on the motion-seating trend at a faster rate than others has been the healthcare industry. When hospitals start placing orders for hundreds of Swoppers for their nurses, you know tides are shifting in favor of healthier workplaces. We have been encouraged to see that finally, one industry truly gets the health and wellness benefits of motion seating, and is being proactive instead of re-active to their own employees’ health. We refer to it as “Caring for the Caregivers.”
Here are some of the healthcare occupations or industries we’ve seen embrace Swopper recently:
- Chiropractors – Swopper has been recommended for years by chiropractors looking for additional resources to help their clients alleviate low back pain. They love the motion aspect of the chair, and also the fact that using the Swopper maintains the natural “S” curve of your spine while seated, and opens the hip/spine angle.
- Kinesiologists – Kinesiology is “the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement.” Based on that, these people truly understand the idea motion and how great it is for the whole body – joints, muscles, mental etc. I recently did a tradeshow for the American College of Sport Medicine, which was attended by many kinesiologists. It was the first show I’ve ever done, where I didn’t have to do much explaining about Swopper. All they had to do was try it and they knew exactly what it could do for the body and mind.
- Physical Therapists – Swopper has been recommended by many physical therapists, especially those with patients who have knee or hip issues. Simple, subtle, intuitive motion can have a dramatic effect for someone rehabbing a knee or hip. If you’re keeping those joints and muscles moving, they have fewer tendencies to tighten up.
- Insurance Companies – We’ve seen an emerging trend from insurance companies that are recommending Swopper and Muvman to their own clients. Their aim is to be proactive to limit workers comp and try to get employees back to work faster and safer. Many times these workers need to adopt a whole new work style and our chairs can help with that.
Swopper has also been endorsed by:
- Dr. Stephen Hochschuler – Orthopedic Surgeon at the Texas Back Institute
- Dr. Dieter Breithecker – World renown expert on posture and motion
It’s been exciting for us at Swopper to see the healthcare industry get behind the benefits of motion seating. The fact that today’s leaders in health and wellness recognize the importance of staying active throughout the day shows that the future of workplace wellbeing is headed in the right direction.
Do you work in the Healthcare industry? If so, have you witnessed a shift in how your workplace approaches health & wellness for their employees? Leave a comment and let us know about your experience.
~ Sandra Bowie, Motion Seating Director
Sitting at work is a modern invention. Up to about 200 years ago, sedentary activities were primarily reserved only for persons of high standing like pharaohs, emperors and kings. The human being moved in the course of work, stood still or squatted. Only about 50 years ago did hours of sitting become part of daily life at work … a development that has taken our bodies off guard.
We move too little and sit too much. Even that well-meant bit of sport in our free time in the evenings and at weekends does not always effectively compensate hours of sitting at the desk or in front of a PC. Research has shown that exercising for 30 minutes per day isn’t enough to offset a typical office worker’s level of inactivity. In the course of a working life we spend about 80,000 hours sitting. Global studies show, on average, we sit 7.7 hours a day, and some results estimate people sit up to 15 hours a day.
So what’s the result of all this sitting? Chronic back pain, slipped disks, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more have all been linked to being sedentary for too long during the day. One 2012 analysis, that looked at the findings from 18 studies, found that those who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat the least.
That’s why businesses around the globe, which are focused on health & wellbeing, have zeroed in on helping their workers incorporate movement into their workday. Studies show, the key to using movement to improve your health, is to make sure you do it frequently throughout the day.
Five Ways to Stay Active While at Work:
- Get up and stand every 15 minutes: The act of standing up from a seated position has been found particularly effective at counteracting the detrimental health effects of sitting. Stretching your muscles once an hour brings blood flow back to all your extremities increasing the oxygen in your body. Think you can’t get up because you are just too busy? Just set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you.
- Buy a chair built for motion: Get active while sitting at your desk with an active office chair, like the Swopper or Muvman.
These chairs offer three dimensions of motion i.e. vertical bounce, lateral sway and forward tilt – all simultaneously and intuitively. Eight hours a day on a Swopper chair can deliver more motion than you would get on a bike ride or a hike at the weekend, with the added benefit of doing it while you work.
- Make your office set-up slightly inconvenient. Take that printer off your desk and put it in the back of the office. While you’re at it, request the desk farthest from the kitchen. Or do some lunges on the way back to picking up your very important papers. In a world of convenience, making things slightly inconvenient in terms of proximity can provide ample opportunities to move throughout the day.
- Create walking meetings. Next time you have a one-on-one scheduled with a coworker, suggest doing the meeting while walking around the building or better yet, outside. You’ll benefit from the increased blood flow, circulation and vitamin D.
- Stretch at your desk. When we sit, our muscles become tight, sore and tense. Stand several times a day at your desk and complete the following five stretches to give your muscles a much needed break from sitting:
- Standing Neck Stretch: Hold for 20 seconds on each side.
- Shoulder Blade Squeeze: Round your shoulders, then pull them back and pull down. Repeat for 20-30 seconds.
- Standing Hip Stretch: Holding on to your desk, cross your left leg over your right thigh and “sit down” by bending your right leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Open Chest Stretch: Sit near the edge of a chair and interlace your fingers behind you, with your palms facing your back. Leaning slightly forward, lift your arms and rest them on the back of the chair. Inhale and lift your chest. Exhale and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
- Side Lunge: Starting with your feet together, take a step sideways, and bend down as if you’re about to sit. Use your arms for balance by reaching out in front of you. Return to starting position.
Finding ways to incorporate movement into your workday can help offset the physical and health hazards sitting for long periods of time can bring. If you work an office job, making a conscious effort to focus on movement, posture and exercise is one of the most effective ways to ensure your job isn’t hurting your health and well-being.
~ Jenn Lytle, Customer Service Director & Social Marketing