UNB (University of New Brunswick) Research Summary
In the Spring of 2018 three researchers at the University of New Brunswick conducted a federally-funded research project to assess and help better understand the human-factor outcomes of using an active office chair. Two active designs were evaluated, Core-flex and a new experimental Core-flex prototype, plus a standard Lifeform chair. Thirty subjects, ranging in age from 19 to 41 yrs. old, were evaluated during a 60-minute session in each of the three test chairs.
The project used perceived comfort questionnaires administered every 30 minutes, and a variety of instrumentation to measure sitting pressure, muscle activation, and oxygenated blood flow.
The results showed a clear preference among the participants for active sitting versus sitting in a standard chair.
- 23 out of 30 subjects preferred one of the active sitting chairs (and 3 of the 7 chose the standard chair because they were too petite to fit comfortably in the active chairs)
- The active sitting chairs showed significantly more weight shift, and participants reported less seating pressure discomfort for the active chairs
- Participants reported that they felt least stiff and sore after sitting in the Core-flex chair, due to the peddling movement available
- There was significantly more oxygenated blood flow measured during sitting in the active chairs, which is a direct indication of increased metabolic activity.
Dr. Michelle Cardoso, the lead researcher, will shortly be submitting an article for publication based on the study. In the meantime, a second research project is underway now which compares active sitting in a Core-flex chair to standard sitting and standing. Dr. Cardoso reports (unofficially) that Core-flex sitting seems to show much more metabolic activity even than standing in the results she has seen so far. Data collection is ongoing, and official results will follow.
Clear takeaways: 1) people overwhelmingly prefer active sitting to passive sitting, and
2) there are measurable benefits of a more active metabolism