Article published on November 29th, 2017, HERE on the Work While Walking website.
At WorkWhileWalking we’re all about incorporating more movement into your daily work routine—movement that is as healthy and as ergonomically-sound as possible. Why did the CoreChair spark our interest? Well, for one, it is an officially NEAT-certified product, having received the prestigious stamp-of-approval from the Mayo Clinic-sponsored organization led by Dr. James Levine. Second, we’ve reviewed many competing ergonomic chair products over the last several years, and would be loath to miss this chance to test a product like the CoreChair, whose promising and innovative design we thought might just disrupt the active sitting world.
Exercise balls have long been an option for office workers looking to avoid the perils of sitting all day—of which core muscle atrophy is one. Exercise balls stimulate your core muscles as your body works to remain upright on their round surfaces. It’s a balancing act, and one that never lets up. In short spurts—no problems—but over the course of a long work day, retaining your balance brings on fatigue. With fatigue comes overcompensating for worn-out muscles, and that means hunching and leaning in ways that are unhealthy. The irony is you’ll end up with worse posture than you would have in a normal office chair.
So while exercise balls worked fine over short stretches, they failed to be a viable solution for lengthy days in the office—at least unless you enjoy constantly switching out your exercise ball for your real chair. Most people find that irritating—not to mention problematic given space constraints.
Enter the CoreChair. Like an evolved version of the office chair designed to incorporate the best-of-both-worlds between exercise balls and chairs, the CoreChair's seat tilts to 14-degrees all the way around, so you can lean your hips in any direction you like. The act of balancing itself activates the core muscles subtly enough to keep focus while working, and if you want a break, a quick adjustment of the tension level returns the chair to more-or-less zero tilt, like a normal office seat. Wheels allow for easy mobility and the seat itself features a proven design to increase blood flow through your legs and the rest of your body.
How did the CoreChair come to be? Entrepreneur Patrick Harrison, who has a degree in Kinesiology, and his team, developed the CoreChair from the ground up over the last 7 years. Throughout product development, the CoreChair underwent extensive testing, both from a scientific standpoint measuring its health benefits, and from a mechanical standpoint, including fatigue-testing up to 1 million extreme capacity cycles. In the end, the CoreChair earned a solid 12-year warranty, NEAT certification, and boasts health claims that range from stimulated blood flow, joint lubrication, increased metabolism, improved digestion, and better breathing.
While this review won’t pretend to assess these health claims in detail, after using the chair for several weeks ourselves, we’re convinced that—as counterintuitive as it sounds—your chair can now become a serious weapon against sitting disease.
How well did the CoreChair perform in our testing? After all, it’s not the only ‘active sitting’ device on the market, and it’s certainly not the cheapest. (Although, it’s notable that the CoreChair is almost equivalently priced feature-for-feature with the Back App 2.0, once you add the Back App wheels). It’s not uncommon to see normal office chairs range north of $500.
The CoreChair is a ‘multi-axial’ chair that tilts on a pivot point right below the seat. This permits you to lean (up to 14-degrees) in every direction around the chair. A tension lever on the right side adjusts to control the difficulty level. Pushing the lever to the back offers the most resistance and pushing the lever forward offers the least resistance.
What did we think of the CoreChair’s tilting motion? Here is a summary of our team’s tips/observations:
Overall, we were impressed with the CoreChair’s tilting feature. No chair we’ve tried has offered this level of core muscle engagement, especially not with this range of difficulty. It can be a mild workout for your abs during the day—then, when you’re tired, it can transform back to zero tilt, and give you a little break. The tilting motion is fluid across all tension levels. And, while the tension lever can require some force to move, it’s located conveniently under the right side of the seat for easy access.
Where’d the back of the chair go? Good riddance, we say. Tall chair backs are bulky and frankly, unnecessary. Yes, it gives the CoreChair a bit of a ‘squatty’ look, but there’s no reason to haul around excess weight when you don’t have to; in this case, less is more.
The CoreChair calls their back support a ‘pelvic stabilizer’. It adjusts by pressing down the lever on the back left of the chair. The spring mechanism engages and the ‘pelvic stabilizer’ moves forward, tucking you right in, and providing impressive lower back support even while you tilt back-and-forth.
Our team saw this feature as particularly useful given our body size ranges. Smaller users will need the ‘pelvic stabilizer’ all the way forward while larger users will need it all the way back. Its adjustability allowed each person on our team to find a comfortable, stabilizing position to work from. The adjustment may make a slight spring noise, but it’s a small price to pay for a happy lower back.
Aside from the short back of the CoreChair, perhaps the feature that most immediately catches the eye is the contoured seat cushion. Billed as ‘relieving pressure points’, the cushion is designed to keep the blood flowing through your legs, bottom, torso, and all the way to your brain while you sit—even enhancing your focus and productivity.
While we didn’t notice any extraordinary gains in productivity (very hard to measure), we did get the sensation we were hovering over the ground while sitting on the CoreChair. You’ll notice the dip in the cushion in the center of the seat. With less surface area resting against your body, there’s less pressure against it that would slow blood flow and cause discomfort, such as your legs falling asleep.
Over the course of the several weeks we used the CoreChair, not once did a member of our team complain of pain due to pressure applied from the seat cushion on the body. The cushion itself is generously soft, so you sink in at least an inch or two, and the cut-out section for your legs achieves a similar purpose to the dip in the middle—relieving pressure on your legs while you sit.
Chair arms cause more problems than they solve. When your chair has arms, they are inviting you to lean on them—bending over, slouching, and generally adopting a poor posture. Without the arms, you must rely on your core to stabilize you. And the additional absence of a steady seat means you must rely doubly on your core.
It can be tempting to lean on your desktop since you don’t have chair arms available. But this defeats the purpose of having a CoreChair. We recommend changing the tension level to the highest possible, and staying disciplined to sit upright. No pain, no gain.
There are six different variations of the CoreChair available. Of those, we tested the Tall Version (for those above 5’6”), with a Knit Seat Cushion in Black on Green. There’s also a Short Version available (for those under 5’6”), and a Sport Seat Cushion (faux leather) that comes in Black, Blue, or Gray.
Our testers were both under and over 5’6” (5’3”, 5’6, 5’10), and we think it’s important to buy the properly-sized chair. If you are a shorter person and have the taller chair, you’ll tend to tilt forward in your seat, leaning toward your desk and putting pressure on your feet and knees to keep yourself stabilized—obviously poor posture. But if you’re shorter and have the proper shorter chair, you can keep your feet flat on the ground and enjoy the CoreChair’s motion in a healthy, non-straining way. There’s no up-charge for the taller chair.
The mounting pile of scientific research attesting to the health benefits of the CoreChair is impressive. Studies have been done at the University of Waterloo and Cornell (among other universities) suggesting enhanced blood flow, lowered pressure points, and even better cognitive functioning—and the list of accredited institutions testing the CoreChair is only growing.
What’s our verdict? In the growing field of ‘active sitting’ products, the CoreChair stands out as an innovative, well-designed, and scientifically-validated solution to get more movement while sitting. It may not win out against the BackApp 2.0 in terms of style (the BackApp 2.0’s flashy Alcantara seat cushions still catch our eye), but if you want a chair that will strengthen your core muscles over time, and do so while increasing blood flow through your legs (and perhaps even boosting your mental performance), it’s worth taking a closer look at the CoreChair. We'll be keeping ours.
If you’d like to learn about all the newest and coolest active ergonomic chairs, check out our comprehensive comparison review.
For more product reviews, visit www.workwhilewalking.com
The vision of CoreChair is to offer the world’s healthiest, ergonomic and therapeutic office chair. Paying little mind to convention or tradition, we chose to focus on you, the sitter. Our tech innovation focuses on optimal posture through core stabilization and movement that mobilizes key joints most affected by sitting. We made our seat highly sculpted to relieve pressure points, prevent sliding and deliver comfort. It works in conjunction with the low back, stabilizing the pelvis to optimize your sitting posture, reduce back pain and prevent slumping at your desk. Many of us are actively seeking therapeutic remedies to help reduce our back pain. Prolonged static sitting in traditional chairs (even high end ergonomic chairs) can result in uncomfortable back strain and lack of movement. Invest in your health with an innovative seating solution designed to harmonize your personal movement with your chair.