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Four Reasons Active Seating is the BEST Gift this Holiday Season

Four Reasons Active Seating is the BEST Gift this Holiday Season

Why should you give a movement chair for Christmas?

Giving presents is not the easiest task. People are constantly checking out new products and ordering online before you can surprise them. Or they already have everything and don’t know what they want. But no need to worry, we got it covered: Check out five reasons you should give away a movement chair to your favorite person this year:

 

  1. It has an incredible story
  2. Did you know that some of our iconic chairs date back to the 70s and 80s? Take the Variable balans for example. Norwegian designer, Peter Opsvik, designed it in 1979 to prove there is more than just one way to sit correctly. His competitors were pretty surprised when they saw the rocking kneeling chair that didn’t even have a backrest. But it proved his point and helped people all over the world to sit – and move – healthy. Almost 40 years later, the chair is still being sold all over Europe, the USA, Japan and Hong Kong.

    The Move is another icon invented by Norwegian designer, Per Øie, in 1985. He wanted to give creative and manual workers the most freedom to move around at a table, by a canvas or in front of an orchestra. Today, the Move is popular with office workers who want to stay active during the day. It even burns calories, thank you very much!

    Our chairs have survived through decades of design and interior trends, because they’re simple, stylish and functional. It’s that easy.
     

  3. It’s a total surprise
    OK, so when did you ever give a chair to someone? It’s pretty unusual, yet such a good idea! A chair is one of those things that people need, but don’t often think about. When you then present them with a cool design chair that is comfortable and healthy, they’ll be thrilled for sure. All of our chairs available on our webshop function as office chairs, so you really only need one, and not a set of four or more. And who doesn’t love a new IT-piece for work? It upgrades their workspace and makes colleagues super jealous!
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  5. It’s actually good for you
    All of our chairs encourage you to move. Since most of us sit for the majority of our day, we definitely need that extra movement. It strengthens your core and back muscles, gives your inner organs more room to function the way they’re supposed to, lets you concentrate better, and even burns calories. So really, throw out your old office chair. It’s killing you!
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  7. It lasts for a really long time
    All our chairs are made in Europe from sustainable materials. The non-treated, New Zealand wool is manufactured by EU Ecolabel-certified suppliers, the wood from Greece is coated with water-based, non-toxic lacquers, and every single piece of fabric is sewn by hand in Poland. All our chairs have a warranty of at least five years, and our customers have been using them for several decades. Great news for a sustainable Christmas!

Winter Is Coming: 6 Ways To Prepare Your Body For The Winter Of Your Life

Winter Is Coming: 6 Ways To Prepare Your Body For The Winter Of Your Life

Winter is coming.

 

The first snow fell on brightly colored leaves this year. It surprised me because I hadn’t mentally prepared for winter to come, yet. This was my wakeup call to dig out hats and gloves and decide if we are going to get ski passes this year. It also triggered another wakeup call – a bigger, more important winter is coming someday. (No, it doesn’t involve white walkers.) The winter of our lives is coming in the form of old age, and I wonder if we are preparing for it?

 

Anti-diseasing.

 

While winter can be as beautiful as all the other seasons, people usually fear it because aging means pending death, possible sickness and pain, and lost independence. According to the CDC, there has been a major shift in the leading cause of death over the last century from infectious disease, to acute illness, and now to chronic disease and degenerative illness. They report that “Two out of every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions.” Some of that is inevitable, but like Dr. Andrew Weil said at the recent International Council on Active Aging conference, the aging process can be separated from disease. Therefore, our goal shouldn’t be anti-aging, but anti-diseasing.

 

Whether you are like my parents and quickly approaching your winter, or like my children whose winter seems far off, there are things you can do now to prepare. Just keep in mind that preparing for seasonal winter is different than preparing for the winter of life. Because nobody is getting out of this life alive, the goal is not to survive until spring, but rather to enjoy our winter with a body that still functions and is relatively free from chronic disease.

 

I know it’s hard to think about the pending winter in the midst of our spring or summer years. When we are young, our bodies are flexible, functional, and disease free. I watch my children and see strong, vibrant lives preparing to bear good fruit, and it’s difficult to imagine that they won’t always be this healthy. Most of us only start to contemplate our exit plan from this earth when we approach our autumn. Like brightly colored leaves, we shine with confidence and life experience during this stage, but we also begin to notice the slightest hint of brittleness around the edges. The culmination of inactivity, poor diet, and bad habits tend to show up in this season.

 

Preparation.

 

Here are 6 ways we can start today to prepare for the pending winter of our lives. We don’t have to wait until we are near winter. The sooner we start, the better prepared we will be.

 

 

 

 

    1. Take a walk for 15 minutes after every meal to cut blood sugar spikes in half and protect against diabetes. I explain this concept further in the article titled Become a NEAT-er Person.

 

 

 

    1. Find a gentle joint mobility class like Kaiut Yoga to lubricate your joints and maintain your range of motion. My husband is going through Kaiut Yoga teacher training in Boulder, and I’ve seen firsthand the simple but effective way this type of yoga impacts the aging body.

 

 

 

    1. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and spices (like turmeric) to flood your body with antioxidants and phytonutrients so your body can fight off disease. The potential for disease is always present, so fuel your body well for a chance at the best defense. Scientists are learning more and more about nutrigenomics which is the study of food’s ability to impact gene expression, including chronic disease.

 

 

 

    1. Reduce inflammation because it is the underlying culprit of many chronic diseases and joint pain. Pay attention to how your body feels after eating certain foods. Some of the common inflammatory foods are sugar, trans fat, vegetable oil, MSG, aspartame, and alcohol.

 

 

 

    1. Move your body for at least 1 minute every half hour throughout the day. Get up, walk, stretch, or fidget, especially if you work behind a desk. Long bouts of sedentariness have been linked to chronic disease and all-cause mortality.

 

 

 

  1. Find ways to flood your body with good hormones: laugh every day, move, and invest in others. Hormone balance is the lifeblood of vitality. Positivity, love, and low stress go a long way toward supporting healthy aging.

 

The pending winter of our lives does not have to mean pending disease. Instead, we can improve with time just like cheese, whiskey, and leftover chili. Winter is coming. Embrace it. Prepare for it. Welcome your winter with open arms and a warm heart.

 

For more information on how to build more movement into your day, visit www.myofficemoves.com and sign up for my free educational series, or email me at stevyn.guinnip@fflbrands.com.

 

About the Author
Stevyn Guinnip has a masters degree in kinesiology and is a veteran in the fitness industry. She has a wide range of experience including NIH research, personal training, corporate wellness, cardiac rehab, group fitness, and launching fitness programs in both the US and Australia. Stevyn believes that if you seek wellness, you will find freedom. She also believes in the importance of the integrated core muscles including the (often neglected) pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm which are impacted by good posture, breathing, and movement.
Become a NEAT™-er Person

Become a NEAT™-er Person

Purple, plum, maybe eggplant is the best description of the color of his suit. Whatever you call it, I knew I was in for a treat before Dr. Levine of the Mayo Clinic even said a word. He was in Chicago at the tech incubator 1871 presenting a lecture called “Standing or sitting is one of the most dangerous things you do each day.” Although I was initially skeptical of the overdramatic title of the talk, I quickly found myself enjoying Dr. Levine’s engaging personality and articulate way of discussing the research behind his claim.

The room was packed with designers, architects, and business people curious to understand more about seemingly benign activities like standing or sitting. Dr. Levine reiterated what most of us already know – our modern culture has created workplaces, schools, and communities that promote too much sitting and sedentary behavior. However, what we may not understand as a society is that “sitting disease,” as he called it, is linked to obesity and more than 30 chronic diseases. For example, diabetes is at epidemic levels, and the fear is that not only does this come at a financial cost to our country, but life expectancy, quality of life, and productivity are rapidly deteriorating because of our sedentary lifestyles.

His solution? Become a NEAT™-er person.

NEAT™ is an acronym that stands for “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis” and is the measurement of the small activities we do throughout our day that is not exercise. Dr. Levine is the father of NEAT™ and has done extensive research to support his claim that small activities add up to big results. By increasing our movement, or NEAT™, throughout our day, we can maintain our weight and stave off chronic disease. Here are two ways he suggested to do that.

1 – Break up the day with 2-4 hours of non-exercise movement.

In the slide below, notice how the time spent in a sleeping position is similar in the lean and obese group; however, time in the “Sit” and the “Stand & Ambulation” positions are inversely related between the two groups. The people in the obese group spent significantly more time sitting each day than the individuals in the lean group. What were the people in the lean group doing during that time difference? Standing and moving.

Dr. Levine challenged us to make a conscious decision to turn on our NEAT™ each day and decrease our sitting time. For example, we should break up extended sitting at work by incorporating more standing and walking. However, he stressed that we don’t have to go from sitting at our desk all day to walking all day. Simply swapping out 2 hours of sitting for standing and walking is beneficial. It is ideal to aim for 4 hours of movement, and that could include walking meetings, brief standing and stretching after every hour of sitting, and standing, rocking, or fidgeting while we are on the phone.

While listening to him talk, I found myself reflecting on my school days. Isn’t it ironic that we were made to sit still and stop fidgeting in school as children, and now we have the research to prove how detrimental that behavior is to our health? We are faced with trying to unlearn those deeply ingrained habits and teach ourselves, and our children, that not only is continuous movement allowed, but it is also an integral component of a healthy lifestyle.

2 – Walk for 15 minutes immediately following a meal.

If you are like me, you’ve heard a rendition of this before. Take a walk after eating. I’ve always seen this tip about Thanksgiving dinner as a way to combat post-feast sleepiness, but there is a more compelling health reason to do this after every meal. Studies have shown that a 15-minute walk after a meal cuts blood sugar peaks in half.

In HALF!

Let that sink in for a minute. Dr. Levine did, and he confessed that after learning this, he never eats a meal without going for a stroll afterward.

This struck me as such a simple, actionable way to impact diabetes risk. Even more interesting is that the walking doesn’t have to be very fast to affect blood sugar. Leisurely strolling at 1.5 mph is enough to cut blood sugar peaks in half for 2 hours after a meal. Lower blood sugar means lower insulin in our system, and lower insulin means decreased food cravings and reduced fat production in the abdominal region.

Conclusion.

While I had previously read about Dr. Levine’s work on sitting disease, seeing him in person helped to solidify his research in my mind. I felt inspired that small changes of daily habits are within reach for all of us, and this can have a huge impact on our health. I also felt honored to be there representing an active seating solution that carries the NEAT™ certification.

Dr. Levin left us with this thought… Getting more movement in our day isn’t difficult, but it does require a mindset shift. With just a couple of small tweaks in our routine, we can go from a society of chronic sitters to one of active movers. In turn, this can lower our risk of obesity and diseases like diabetes, while increasing our overall wellness. Best of all, we can start today in becoming a NEAT™-er person, just like Dr. Levine – even if we don’t own an eggplant suit.

About the Author
Stevyn Guinnip has a masters degree in kinesiology and is a veteran in the fitness industry. She has a wide range of experience including NIH research, personal training, corporate wellness, cardiac rehab, group fitness, and launching fitness programs in both the US and Australia. Stevyn believes that if you seek wellness, you will find freedom. She also believes in the importance of the integrated core muscles including the (often neglected) pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm which are impacted by good posture, breathing, and movement.

Improving Posture in 5 EASY Steps

Improving Posture in 5 EASY Steps

It’s not what we aren’t doing that is slowly wreaking havoc on our bodies, it’s what we are doing that can often be more of a danger to our overall well-being. The way we do things in a repeated fashion shape and mold us over time, and lead us down roads of discomfort and even pain. We are continually told we need to add this, do that, add more of this, expand doing more of that. But what if the starting line is you just tweaking what you are already doing.

We have all heard the word “posture” before, and I can assume you probably have an idea of what that word means. But just for the sake of the few that may not be clear, our friend Google says that posture is “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting.” Posture is how we carry our body, how we move or don’t move our body, posture is where our parts go, how they stack or don’t stack, all constitute posture.

And as a movement and fitness leader for 15 years now, I have seen a wide variety of interpretations of what posture is, and I have also encountered many that have not drawn the line between how they feel and posture itself.

Here’s the thing, you can add all the exercises, fancy shoes, even nice furniture you want, but if your posture is off, or tainted, those additions will only temporarily mask the underlying issue that truly is a simple (but diligent) fix.

So here are FOUR ways to improve your posture TODAY:

1. Look at your feet. If you are walking forward, they should be pointing forward. Ankle, knee, and hip (even neck) problems often stem from the feet. Pointing them forward takes the load off the knees and gives the lower back and hips a break. Also, consider the type of shoes you are wearing, the higher the heel, the bigger the risk for possible foot, hamstring, and hip problems.

2. Where’s your pelvis? A lot of what our pelvis does correlates back to our feet, but on a basic level you want your pelvis in what is called “neutral.” Neutral is a home-based position for your body, bringing your pelvic floor (the basement of your core) back underneath you, your organs, back into their very strategically stacked position, and finally, give relief to your hip flexors and lower back.

How do you find neutral? Your front hip bones (also known as your Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) can be found by the front belt loops of your pants. Your pubis bone resides where the zipper would land if you would unzip a pair of jeans. These three bony landmarks make an upside-down triangle that should run parallel with the wall you are facing. NOTE: Doing this is heels will show you how much your body is adapting for a posture that is not natural.

3. Look to your core. Many separate working the core into its own workout. Even yoga, students still ask, “can we do core work,” like it is somehow separate from the rest of the body. The thing is, core work isn’t something you do, it’s everything you do. So that means that even while standing, walking, running, even sitting you can engage your core-yes, even while you work!

Remember the neutral pelvis? Let’s consider that position, the footings of the house, and your rib cage the roof of the house, and your “core” (what is in the middle) the walls of the house. Now your walls don’t stand a chance if the footings and roof are off kilter. And you can do all the core work you want, but if your structure is out of balance, you could be doing more harm than good. Look at your front ribs, as you exhale, work to relax your front rib cage down. Doing this is a game changer when it comes to activation of the core on a daily basis. You don’t’ need to feel the “burn” all day every day but having your core engaged in what I call a “low idle” is ideal, so when your movements request more help, it’s ready for action.

4. Bring it back, your shoulders that is. That good ole saying our mothers and grandmothers taught us was exactly right. Except, that they forgot a critical piece—what to do with the front of the body when you bring your shoulders back. Most will squeeze their shoulders together back behind them and never give any attention to what the front of the body is then doing about that “squeeze.”

Sitting tall (hopefully on your Move or Variable chair) feel your shoulder blades move down and slightly in toward the spine, but as you do that, pay attention to your front lower ribs, what do they do? For many, they flare outward and forward like shutters opening on a window. When this happens, it leaves your cores roof out of balance and crooked. When the roof is off, the core cannot function properly.

The next time you bring your shoulder down and back, remember to also keep your front rib cage down and in, this requires core control. Then with your ribs and pelvis in better alignment, your core has instant activation. I call that a win for sure!

Before deciding to reinvent the wheel, adding in dozens of new exercises, and expensive gadgets, consider first simply looking at your day to day posture to find out what can easily be done. The above can be practised sitting, standing, even walking or running. Posture is your body’s blue print and will help you eliminate potential injuries and hopefully keep pain and discomfort at bay.

With Posture, it’s the little things that add up to big lasting results. This is exactly what I love the Move and Variable chairs. I fell in love with these chairs because it is virtually impossible to sit on them with poor posture. These chairs force you to sit up with better posture than a standard chair. Combined with the small tweaks I talked about above, these chairs become a powerful tool for you to feel better, sit taller, incorporate unconscious core work simply by using your core as it was designed.

Have a Core-ageous Day!

This post is part of our Ambassador series.

Hope Zavara owns and operates a yoga and functional fitness studio in her hometown of Hartford, WI. Along with the brick and mortar studio, Hope operates an online studio as well training and seminars both live and online. You can find our more about her at www.HopeCoreFitness.com or www.HopeZvara.com.

Hope’s mission is to help others purposefully excel. Her own early struggle with a life-threatening eating disorder and then the loss of her first child led her to realize that her name is not just a name, but a symbol. Hope has helped change thousands of lives of the past 15 years, going beyond her experience in the fitness and wellness industry.

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Physical Adaptations For Well-Being

Physical Adaptations For Well-Being

Physical Adaptations for Well-Being

In today’s modern world there is an app for almost every situation. If something is wrong or needs improvement, we can pull out our iPhone and search for the solution. However, when it comes to our physical well-being, what we truly need is a physical adaptation to change the course of how we do things.

Many illnesses and chronic issues can be linked back to how we live in our physical bodies. Much like house maintenance, the longer you neglect your body, the more damaged the structure becomes. Those once small issues can quickly become much larger.
I often get asked questions about how to get rid of pain or reduce symptoms. The way I translate these issues is “give me a quick fix to my problem.”

What if there isn’t a magic pill to heal your back pain, or improve your core? Instead, maybe it’s about awareness of how you move (or don’t move) in this world, and thinking about the environment that you put yourself in day after day. Should you consider a change in that environment to prevent your “house” from beginning to fall apart?

I teach yoga and fitness, but one thing I stress is to ask yourself the following questions: How can you take these movements into your everyday life? How can you transform your day-to-day routines so that you can increase your overall well-b