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Is the VELA Tango Chair another Office Chair?

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

VELA Westech Blog

Date: December 7, 2020

So, what are Activity Chairs?

Jeff Jones, Calgary, Alberta

Why is what looks similar to an office chair called an activity chair? It certainly has wheels like an office chair and adjusts a bit like an office chair, but what makes it different?

Basically, Activity Chairs are not just for sitting, but for being active while sitting. The user is not meant to just sit at a desk, or behind a desk – they are meant to move around while sitting. But not only move around but stand sometimes and stand to reach things that are out of reach from a sitting level. Even when they are restricted to sitting due to physical limitations, it is nice to elevate your seat and talk to someone at eye level if they happen to be standing! Social interaction is key to wellbeing.

And what about moving an office chair while sitting. Easy if you are going downhill but not always easy if you want to propel the chair using your feet in a “walking motion” around your kitchen. The standard 5-star base is not really designed for this action, but the VELA Tango Chairs are! The 4-Wheel base set in an ‘H’ pattern allows your heels to move unobstructed in a “walking” (heel toe push/pull) action. No pain, and very efficient at moving the chair around, especially with the wheelchair caster type wheels.

Now since we want to do a few more things than just move, we need other features. How about a brake or caster lock to lock the chair in one place and give you stability during some of your activities like standing and reaching. The VELA Tango chairs have an accessible lever brake system that can be applied with minimal force to the rear casters by the user. Left-handed or right-handed. This is pretty critical to prevent falls during standing and sitting motions. Now especially if you have balance issues or strength issues or pain issues or even one side of your body that works better than the other, it makes total sense to lock the chair before any type of transfer or reaching movement. The Vela Tango Activity Chair is designed for this type of user!

Because of this design feature it is often referred to as the “MS Chair” or “Independence Chair” or “Post Stroke Chair” or even the “Hip Replacement Chair”. Really there are so many users with all sorts of conditions that might benefit their lifestyle and experience independence with an activity chair at home.

”I find that the armrest on the chair gives me the comfort and confidence to do the laundry again, because sometimes when I am tired, I lose my balance and start leaning towards one side.” Maria, Denmark, Disability: MS

The solid armrests are a real benefit when support is required. They are adjustable in height and width past the seat cushion width.

A flip-back option is also available to make lateral transfers easier and safer. For example, getting on or off the toilet or bed.

Another big difference from office chairs are the multiple styles of back support with a high degree of adjustability. The back supports adjust in height and seat depth, as well as back angle. There are tall models as well as short and two component models that provide added lumbar support. Back pain can be cruel and with VELA ergonomic designs your activity chair does not have to contribute to the pain. 'Good ergonomics' does not refer to a particular sitting position, instead it means variation and change in work postures during the course of the day.

The real benefit of this chair is the elevation feature, both manual and electric. To make the chair easy to assist standing, the seat can tilt slightly forward, allowing your feet to remain flat on the floor, and the pedestal will elevate the user seat. The seat height can elevate to as high as 32”. Just to give you reference, table standard heights are 28-30”; bathroom vanity heights are 32” and kitchen counter heights are 36”. Sitting in your VELA Chair for independence at maximum height is like sitting on your desk or even your bathroom countertop.

Now, I am 5’9”, on a good day, and I have a 30” inseam. This maximum height is fantastic for moving me into a very comfortable standing position while still holding the armrests and supporting myself with the activity chair. I actually don’t need a chair that goes that high just to stand and would benefit from a smaller height range due to my more moderate stature. But VELA makes numerous pedestal range options in manual and electric models.

Really great for reaching anything overhead or at eye level without risking a fall, the VELA Tango Chairs are heavier and stronger to give them not only strength and durability but a low Centre of gravity. This all works in your favor when giving you independence in your lifestyle.

The power elevation is provided by an electric actuator that is activated by a switch (Up/Down) on the right or left underside of the armrest pad. Two small 12 volt gel batteries give you ample power for a full day of activity with many cycles. Charging overnight will bring the batteries back to full activity level.

There is also a manual height adjustment model controlled by a lever under the seat. The pedestal is a gas operated cylinder controlled by shifting your weight to your feet and raising your behind slightly while releasing the seat height adjustment lever. To bring the seat back down simply keep all your weight on the seat cushion and release the seat height adjustment lever. Gravity does all the work!

There are many applications and uses for the VELA Chairs for activity and independence. Designed in Denmark and used extensively all around the world. Especially during the COVID-19 outbreak when many higher risk people want to remain in their home and live independently as long as possible.

Our lifestyles are changing so that a higher percentage of people are, not only, working from home, but working through their senior years and working and living with disabilities at home. The VELA Activity Support Chairs can assist with safety and give us independence.

Yes, very different from an office chair!

Thanks for reading this post and please feel free to share with someone that may need some assistance at home or in their office. And of course comments are always appreciated.


Westech Health Care Ltd.

313 views2 comments


Dec 21, 2020

Thanks Richard. Really happy the VELA Tango is helping you be more independent!


Dec 19, 2020

Totally awesome!!! Got some independence back. Thank-you for the beautiful product and great service.

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