Saddle sitting is a more healthful way to sit than conventional sitting. But we won't lie to you -- you may have to stretch and tone your way into it. While many people are comfortable in a saddle right away, others take time to get used to the new sensation.

One should build up to saddle sitting just as one builds up to an exercise program. Saddle sitting is "therapeutic." It activates postural reflexes and core muscles, unlike conventional chairs that put your postural muscles to sleep.

Most of our staff members prefer saddle-sitting, even though we are free to choose any ergonomic chair available anywhere. However, we didn't all adopt saddle-sitting overnight. Some of us took up to two years of trials with other ergonomic chairs before we felt compelled (usually by some persistent neck or back discomfort) to explore saddle sitting.

The following information is based upon what we've learned about building up saddle-tolerance with our own staff.

Seat pressures

Seat pressure issues usually subside in 2-3 weeks.

Some people initially experience soreness where their bones meet the saddle. People who habitually slump in a conventional chair may be unaccustomed to bearing weight on the "sit bones" (ischial tuberosities). When you slump your pelvis rotates backwards onto your tailbone; In a saddle seat your pelvis rotates forward onto your sit bones. This brings your spine into perfect erect posture and is the healthiest way to sit. If you are not used to it you might get “saddle sore” at first.

Some men experience pressure or numbness in their groin, just as they would experience on horseback. If this is the case with you, we recommend a saddle that relieves pressures with an opening down the center of the seat.

Read more about Genital Health and Sitting >>>

Hip joint stretch discomfort

Hip joint stretch discomfort usually goes away in 3 - 12 weeks.

We never hear this complaint in children as they naturally have flexible hip joints. However with age, hip joints can become stiff. If your hip joints are stiff, you may feel that the seat is too wide or you may experience stretch discomfort in your hip joints, especially when you reach forward. Trust us on this one -- "This too shall pass." In fact, there is some evidence that this type of stretching can relieve and reduce hip joint arthritis!

Use the seat a little more each day, and gradually your hips will stretch out and feel great!

General fatigue

General fatigue sensation can take 6 - 18 months to disappear.

The fatigue issue is an interesting one. EMG studies reveal that the postural muscles (back extensors, abdominals, pelvic muscles, large leg muscles) are DORMANT in a conventional ergonomic task chair. However, the postural muscles are ACTIVE in a saddle seat. The fatigue experienced when converting to saddle-sitting has to do with the time it takes to tone-up the postural muscles which have become deconditioned from disuse. Even athletic people can experience this fatigue, as postural muscle tone is not trained in all types of sports.

If you have pre-existing back, neck or hip pain

The vast majority of neck, back and hip symptoms associated with sitting are relieved in a saddle seat. For many the relief is instantaneous, but for some it can take time. It’s not unusual to experience some soreness and fatigue if you stretch stiff tissues and tone muscles that haven’t been used in a long time. The less physically fit the individual, the longer it takes.

Be patient and be careful. Your pre-existing condition should not worsen. However, you may need to build up your saddle-sitting time slowly, just as you would with a new exercise regimen. Please consult your medical practitioner if you have any questions about the suitability of saddle sitting for your condition.

Article reproduced with permission from ergoTALK.

(Updated 12 Feb 2013)