The longer you sit, the shorter you live
Numerous studies have shown that ‘sitting still’ seriously affects your long-term health. Prolonged sitting causes spinal loading, leading to disc damage and spinal shrinkage. Low back pain affects around one third of UK adults and treatment costs are in excess of £1.5 Billion
Barnett Engineering Ltd in Wrexham has been looking at ways to deal with this problem by increasing levels of movement in office and school environments and has tested and developed a prototype with researchers at Swansea University.
Coined the ‘Barnett Chair’, it outperforms both the standard office chair and stability balls, by enabling a superior range of motion and more calorie expenditure. It works by increasing a person’s heart rate and requires increased spinal and core body movements.
The patented hemispherical padded chair is surrounded by a safety ring and lockable wheeled casement. It can be customised for different purposes and style preferences. The new chair is expected to reduce static loading pain, such as shoulder and neck pain from sitting too long, as well as reversing weight gain trends from sedentary behavior.
‘Unstable’ seating has previously been shown to increase daily energy expenditure by up to 16%. Add to this the physiological benefits of the Barnett Chair and there is strong evidence that a decline in obesity trends and pain levels are possible.
Designer Steve Barnett said:
‘The concept for this chair came out of a need to reduce the global rise in sedentary-linked suffering and linked obesity. Increases in sedentary lifestyles now cost the European economy over nine billion Euros per annum in direct costs and the Barnett Chair hopes to reverse the sedentary time bomb trend’.
Researcher Professor Gareth Stratton commented:
‘With only 1 in 5 adults sufficiently active in the UK, our hope is that using solutions like the Barnett Chair, especially when used alongside a healthy eating regime, can reverse the obesity trend and working with Barnett Engineering, we now have the evidence to prove this’.
The work on the ‘Barnett Chair’ is part of Professor Stratton’s ongoing work in combatting a sedentary lifestyle. The BBC series ‘Is My Job Killing Me’ in Oct 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01hyflw documented Prof Stratton’s work with DVLA employees and the benefits they gained in just a few days from using an unstable ball seat at home and at work.