We all know leading a sedentary lifestyle – aka sitting on our butts all day – is bad for our health. Recently, scientists have conducted studies to put some factual science behind the reality of what sitting does to our health.
From back pain, muscle degeneration and foggy thinking to more extremes like increased risk of colon and endometrial cancers, the jury is in … sitting all day wrecks havoc on our health.
We love this infographic created by Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark with the Washington Post, outlining exactly what health issues arise when we sit all day.
Here are some highlights from the infographic about the health risks of sitting that stood out to us:
- Sitting for long periods of time slows blood circulation, which causes fluid to pool in the legs.
- Studies have linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast and endometrial cancers.
- Muscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, allowing fatty acids to more easily clog the heart.
- A 2011 study found a decline in insulin response after just one day of prolonged sitting.
Pretty scary stuff when you think about how much our modern lifestyle is spent sitting down. The good news is that all these health risks related to sitting are entirely preventable with the use of motion seating, like the Swopper or Muvman, and by incorporating movement into your day.
~ Jenn Lytle, Director of Customer Service and Social Marketing
One of the first questions we often get from customers is “Which chair is right for me?” With three motion chair options – Swopper, Muvman and the new 3Dee – the decision can get confusing. That’s why we decided to write a blog post detailing the differences between the chairs, to better help you decide.
To help illustrate the differences between the chairs, I’m going to profile different people at our office and tell you why they chose one chair over another. This way you can get to know us all a little better too.
- User: me! Jenn Lytle
- Office Habits: 8-10 hours a day sitting at a desk
- Why I chose the Swopper: It allows me to move and stay active during the long stretches of time I am at my desk focusing on a project.
I’ll start with myself, I’m at the office 8-10 hours a day and do a lot of sitting during that time. My choice is the custom Swopper. I have my favorite color upholstered on the seat and wheels on the base. I don’t use the wheels a whole lot but I love that I have the option should I feel the need to visit my neighbor’s desk without removing my body from my chair.
What I love about my Swopper is that no matter how far I reach out…I can grab what I need and bounce right back to where I was, and without bending my body in an unfortunate position. I love to bounce and move constantly and you might find me a little distracting to have a face-to-face conversation but I’m having more fun at my desk than you are!
- User: Chas Hepler
- Office Habits: Always on the move to various meetings
- Why he chose the Muvman: It offers flexibility by being height adjustable and also portable enough to carry all around the office.
Our CEO Chas Hepler uses a Muvman on a daily basis. Chas isn’t one to sit still and he likes to switch from sitting to perching to standing whenever he wants. He also likes to have the ability to move the chair into a different room for meetings.
That’s why Chas opts for the Muvman. The chair is so light and meets all of his needs whether he is typing on his computer, talking on the phone or holding a conference. The Muvman meets all of Chas’ changing office needs.
3Dee Active Office Chair:
- User: Ken Swanson
- Office Habits: Sitting some of the day; used to a more traditional office setting
- Why he chose 3Dee: It give him the benefits of movement with the comfort and familiarity of a more traditional office chair
Ken has been working in an office setting for 20+ years before coming to our “non-traditional” office space here at Swopper. After sitting in a regular office chair for many years, our motion seats were a big change for him. To help ease him adjustment, Ken is opting for the 3Dee Active Office chair.
With it’s high back and more traditional office chair set up, the 3Dee gives Ken the comfort of he’s familiar work setting, with the added bonus of movement to keep his body healthy. He loves that the 3Dee is his “secret weapon” against back pain, because it provides ergonomic movement while looking more like a traditional chair.
In short, each of our motion chairs provide a unique benefit. We’re confident that one of these chairs is the perfect fit for your needs. If you have additional questions about which chair is right for you, contact us any time at email@example.com
~ Jenn Lytle
One of our main goals here at Swopper is to introduce the benefits of motion seating to as many people as possible. A good way we’ve found to do this is to show the chairs to professions we think will have an innate interest in the health and wellness benefits of Swopper.
This strategy has been immensely popular with a specific profession – chiropractors.
We knew that the chiropractic world would understand something like swopper and the benefits of motion. After all, they are all about keeping the spine etc. in proper working condition and they make a living fixing people who suffer from chronic back pain due to injury, sedentary jobs, congenital issues or a host of other impactful conditions.
When we speak to chiropractors about the Swopper chair, here’s what we tell them:
- It opens up the hip/spine angles to better help with circulation, which in turn opens the diaphragm for better lung expansion and breathing capacity
- Swopper provides a gentle intuitive bouncing motion that draws nourishment into the intervertebral discs
- It puts you into a proper posture automatically due to the tilt range functions.
- Finally, it strengthens the abdominal, back, shoulder and leg muscles – all of which play into their treatment. If you don’t have the strong muscles, it just makes everything that much harder on the spine and other parts of the skeletal system.
All of these benefits can be looked at as an extension of what the chiropractor may be doing for the patient. We have many chiropractors that use the Swopper themselves and also recommend them to their patients.
Many prescribe Swopper as part of a treatment plan by having the patient use our motion products at work to assist with everything they are doing physically with the patient during their appointments. Or they may look at them as a preventative program to help with or slow down the onset of a certain conditions.
Any way you look at it – chiropractors, physical therapists, kinesiologists, doctors and many more understand the technical aspects of our motion products and the health and wellness benefits one receives from using them.
That’s why this year we will be attending the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference, showcasing our Motion Division. If you are a Chiropractor interested in trying out a Swopper chair, call us any time to discuss a risk-free trial.
~ Sandra Bowie, Motion Seating Director
It is not uncommon for people who are new to motion seating to need a bit of a “breaking in” period to adjust from their normal sedentary sitting to active motion sitting. Some comments we hear from “newbie” swopper users include feeling tired, out of balance and just plain uncoordinated on their new chair.
Think about it … you are going from sitting stationary most of the day, to suddenly bouncing, tilting and swaying. That can be a big adjustment for your muscles that have gotten used to sitting still.
The good news is the body is very adaptable and in no time swopper users go from feeling clumsy to feeling energized, athletic and revived. Here are some tips for getting through this transition period.
- Transition slowly over time. Don’t feel like you need to immediately start swopping all day. It’s perfectly acceptable to slowly ease into the amount of movement you’re doing in a day. Try two hours swopping and then an hour in a stationary chair. This rotation back and forth will give your body an appropriate break from your newfound motion.
- Adjust the chair settings to limit movement range. The swopper has two ways to adjust settings to limit movement at first. There is a cap on the bottom of the middle post. If you turn the chair upside down and twist this to control the amount of side to side tension.
There is also a plastic piece on the center column that twists around the column that controls the amount of bounce tension. In the beginning it is best to have a low tension on the bounce and less side to side tension. This will enable you to not use too much energy to bounce up and down & side to side, keeping you more upright.
- Listen to your body. Pay attention to cues and prompts that motivate you to move, stretch or sit still. It’s surprising how many of us have a disconnection to our bodies. Swopper and active sitting prompts a lot more communication between the body and the brain. For some this can be a new introduction to an old friend and it may take time again to reestablish that relationship and feel comfortable with it.
- Make a commitment. Active seating is a new way of life in the office. It is about shaking it up and committing to motion vs. stagnant sitting. It is not about rigorous exercise, but the cumulative effect of moving all day vs. very little movement. By committing to this new healthy way of sitting, you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run.
- Allow your brain to adjust. If you have been sedentarily sitting for a long period, your muscle (and your brain is a muscle) has memory and gets used to this position and the feeling and state that surrounds it. If you abruptly disrupt this state you change everything and you change it quickly. This creates muscle confusion allowing for a new state to emerge. These are good things and show that the body is evolving to a new way of sitting and feeling creating a sense of new normal.
Changing the way you sit all day may take time to adjust to. The good news is that this adjustment period is typically short (a few weeks) and if you follow the tips above, you can limit any discomfort. With time, you’ll begin to feel at ease on your swopper and we guarantee you won’t ever look back.
~ Chas Hepler, swopper CEO
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