That so many of us are bound to our desks for too many hours is a given. But a clutch of forward-thinking companies are creating products that can make being attached to that workspace a little healthier, plugging into a trend described as "random acts of fitness."
Trade in a conventional office chair for the Move stool from Varier, which is part of the "activated sitting" movement. Using the ergonomically-designed stool encourages "micro movements that are happening all the time," said John Webster, spokesman for the brand. The seat is perched on a base that tilts, pivots or rotates depending on the way the body moves, activating the core, back and legs.
"You're not just sitting stagnant in a chair," said Webster, who added that the Move stool can also work with a standing size desk or at a kitchen counter while prepping food. $499. varierfurniture.com
There are tech companies across the nation where the chairs in boardrooms have been replaced by FluidStance balance boards, said company founder Joel Heath.
"They make meetings more active and even shorten the length of them. Solutions are found more quickly," said Heath. He founded the brand, based in Santa Barbara, after realizing that "in the course of an ordinary day we can find opportunities for whole health."
Heath advises getting onto the FluidStance while taking a phone call, chatting with a colleague or even at the desk; the movement provided by standing on the board increases the body's energy expenditure by 19.2%, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.
"If you can take a minute or two to work on your balance, take some deep breaths, those little things over the scope of the day can add up to significant fitness benefits," he said. $289 and up. fluidstance.com
The smart air purifier from Airmega senses potentially harmful particulates in the air around your workspace — blue for good, pink for "get out now" — and automatically increases fan speed to get rid of the dust mites and allergens that linger around you. The activated carbon filters are said to capture 99.97% of pollen and other irritants. Once the product deems the air sufficiently clean, the fan shuts itself down. The Wi-Fi enabled versions link to an app and can be controlled from anywhere. $649 and up. airmega.com
Give yourself an acupressure treatment without leaving your desk with Bed of Nails, which makes a pillow that has 2,142 non-toxic plastic spikes over its surface; lean against it to stimulate the body's pressure points and release endorphins to bring down stress levels. Acupressure, which originated thousands of years ago in China, is like acupuncture without the needles; pressure is applied in different points in the body to help alleviate various symptoms. $39.95. Also available as a mat and belt. bedofnails.org