If you spend eight hours a day, five days a week, 12 months a year slumping on your chair, you might find yourself with a musculoskeletal problem. While this harms your health, it will significantly affect your quality of life from your performance at work to your relationships. Fortunately, the kneeling chair has become one of the biggest trends when it comes to office ergonomics.
A kneeling chair might be just what you need to alleviate your symptoms. Kneeling chairs are not new; they have roots in ancient Buddhist traditions. Buddhist disciples spent a big chunk of their time meditating. They used benches and pillows to create a kneeling position. Getting to this kneeling position helps to lift the weight off your ankles, opening up your core area.
When at your regular office desk, you will often find yourself fretting, fidgeting, and turning. Furthermore, sitting on your traditional office desk offers minimal ergonomic effects, doing a lot of harm to your body.
What is a Kneeling Chair?
Kneeling chairs have been in the office space for a couple of years now. They have presented a different way of sitting, which promises to ease our day to day pain and aches from the office. The kneeling chair works on the principle of distributing weight between your knees and buttocks.
The kneeling chair was first unveiled in 1979. Its initial design was to drop the thighs an angle of about 60 to 70 degrees from vertical. It helps to distribute most of the bodyweight between your shins and knees. With a regular office chair, you sit at a 90-degree angle with weight distributed across your buttocks and the back of the thighs.
The main idea behind this shift in weight distribution is that the kneeling chair will help reduce back strain keeping your core muscles engaged for a more active sitting posture. It makes it the chair more suitable for individuals experiencing Coccyx pain since there is lee pressure on their tailbone. The chair’s kneeling position eases the user’s hips forward encouraging a more upright posture for better alignment of your shoulders, back, and neck.
Origins of the Kneeling Chair
The first kneeling chair was designed by the Norwegians and had a wooden build. Over time, the design has changed, and today, you will find it with a metal frame. You could still get an original design kneeling chair by purchasing it custom made. Modern kneeling chairs come with armrests for increased comfort to users.
Are Kneeling Chairs Good for Your Health?
There are varied opinions about the health benefits of a kneeling chair, and whether or not they are right for you. Regular body movement is good for your health. This is because they help to break individuals out of static positions that slow down your body, exerting pressure on your lower back, shoulders, and neck. Sitting on your office chair for an extended time also slows down your overall metabolism, which reduces your body’s ability to regulate blood pressure, sugar as well as break down body fat.
Using a kneeling chair as your primary seating option in your office is an excellent way to encourage regular body movement. The kneeling chair works to promote active sitting. Since you do not have back support with this chair, your core muscle will have to work to keep you sitting upright.
When Is the Best Time to Use a Kneeling Chair?
It is important to note that kneeling chairs should only be used for short-term tasks that need forward reach, like working on your computer, writing, or drawing. Kneeling chairs work to confine your legs to one position, which helps to increase the pressure under your kneecaps, slowing circulation to your legs.
Tall individuals will find using the kneeling chair quite uncomfortable, especially if they are looking to use it for an extended period. For best results, swap between your kneeling chair, office chair, and, if possible, standing throughout your workday.
It is also important to note that muscles and bones that are familiar with a particular seating position will need to become accustomed to your new sitting arrangement. Therefore, it’s normal to feel awkward the first time you start using the kneeling chair. After getting used to sitting poorly for an extended period, your body will require to build up your core muscles in your lower back. Therefore, it might be a good idea to incorporate some exercises to help rebuild your body strength.
How to Properly Use a Kneeling Chair
Make sure your bottom carries the bulk of your weight. The Kneeling chair features a knee pad that supports your shins as well as your knees. The first time you sit on your kneeling chair, it is essential to start by sitting on the kneeling chair before extending to a kneeling position with your entire weight on your bottom.
Shift your weight from time to time
While your kneeling chair offers a lot of health benefits, especially for those with poor posture, it is a good idea to keep your traditional office chair so that you can alternate sitting between the two.
While using the kneeling chair, leave your left knee on the pad but place your right foot, ensuring your leg is extended in front of you. Repeat this is reserving the role of your legs. Put both feet on the floor with both legs stretched in front of you.
Considerations Before Purchasing a Kneeling Chair
- In case you have issues with your knees, using a kneeling chair is not recommended.
- Since they do not have the same height range compared to your traditional chair, it can be quite challenging to sit at the right height for your office desk.
- It is essential to get up regularly since your legs will be trapped in one position. Getting up every 30 to 40 minutes for a stretch is necessary to get the blood moving in your legs.
- The kneeling chair is best suited for a home office setup for an individual who occasionally uses a desk in the evening.
- The kneeling chair is a remarkable invention; however, it is essential to test sit on it to see if it suits you before committing to a purchase.
Health Benefits of a Kneeling Chair
The kneeling chair has gotten a lot of popularity of late since the avalanche of articles confirming the adverse health effects of sitting too long. So, what benefits can you get from using this chair?
The most significant benefit of using a kneeling chair is that it helps improve your posture. Your traditional office chair is challenging and makes it extremely hard to maintain proper posture. Using a kneeling chair is effortless and secure, assisting you to keep your spine in a good neutral position.
Extensive sitting on your traditional chair will take a toll on your spine over time, leading to poor sitting and standing habits. The extra stress and strain on your back cause discomfort and pain. Using the kneeling chair properly will present significant health benefits making a permanent impact in your life. Individuals will begin to experience ease while jogging, walking, or running. Having good posture helps you minimize the chances of getting back pain and injury in the future.
Strengthen your Core Muscles
Your regular office chair offers complete support to your back, meaning your core muscles don’t get to work a lot. A weak core is one of the leading causes of poor posture. After some time, you will notice your back hunching over your keyboard.
Sitting in a kneeling position not only strengthens your back but also helps activate your core muscles. The lack of back support forces your core muscles to work, keeping them engaged the entire time you are seated. After extensive use, users begin to experience significant improvement in their core as well as improved muscle tone.
It offers comfort
The first impression a lot of people get about the kneeling chair is that it is causing a great deal of discomfort to your knees. However, despite its name, the kneeling chair works to divide the weight between your thighs, spine, and shins. This weight distribution helps prevent pain and pain on your lower back.
Yet another unique trait of this chair’s design is that it offers the freedom of movement. Not a lot of chairs will give you the freedom to change positions or choose a sitting position that you feel is most comfortable.
Helps ease Back Pain
If you have back pain conditions, the kneeling chair can help offer some relief. Its declining position offers the hip some room to move and breathe. You might not know this, but your hip is directly connected to your lower back muscles. By providing your hips more room, you get to enjoy a more comfortable and natural way of sitting.
The angle of the seat forces the users to sit down with a straight back. Due to this, the lower back doesn’t need to work overtime to keep an upright position. Instead, the vertebrae located on your spine stack on one another, offering support without forcing the muscles to work overtime.
Opens up your Pelvis
Using a kneeling chair helps tilt your pelvis forward, assisting your spine in adopting a correct alignment. Opening the pelvis doesn’t only help in correcting your posture and spinal alignment; it also helps with digestion as well as improved breathing. Your metabolism will also improve because your internal organs are less compressed when your pelvis is in an open position.
Helps Improve your Focus
When you are seated in a poor posture, you will often feel fatigued, loss of productivity, and discomfort. A lot of people with poor posture complain of back pain, headaches, and aggravation. Therefore, instead of focusing on completing the task at hand, they end up focusing on the pain and discomfort they are experiencing. Loss of productivity is a significant concern for a lot of people who have poor posture. Fortunately, sitting down in a kneeling position can help correct this condition effectively.
When the spine is aligned correctly, concentration and comfort increase, when you don’t experience discomfort, frustrations, and headaches caused by poor posture, your mind is freed to focus on the task ahead, increasing your productivity.
Works to Improve Organ Function
Your sitting position is not the only thing that helps increase your concentration; it’s the increase in oxygen as well. When you sit upright in a natural place, it is much easier to breathe, improving your overall circulation. Due to this, your brain and other organs receive more nutrients and oxygen. Your digestion will improve as soon as you switch from your traditional chair to a kneeling chair.
When your spine is upright, and in a neutral position, your lungs begin to take in more air, and your heart is free to circulate more blood efficiently. When in your hunched position, both your lungs and heart are compressed, which makes them work harder, pumping blood and taking in oxygen.
Other organs as well experience less pressure when your spine is upright, which allows them to work more efficiently. Sitting in a kneeling position will do more than provide you with comfort; it also helps improve your overall health and wellbeing.
The Kneeling Chair is Easy to Use
Despite having an unconventional design, the kneeling chair is quite easy to use. They are designed to offer much more freedom compared to your standard office chair. Your typical office chair has wheels that help you maneuver to any position. While this is effective in getting your work done without getting out of your seat, it restricts body movement.
Since they have a compact design, they can easily be stored under your desk to eliminate clutter. Without an armrest, the user is free to set a position and height they feel is comfortable. Unlike your traditional chair, a kneeling chair is fixed in an optimal sitting position. It doesn’t come with knobs or levers for adjustment. When you want to move out, you simply get up and walk out. With a traditional office chair, you will need to stand up and sit down, which adds strain to your core muscles as well as your spine.
Are there any Disadvantages of using a Kneeling Chair?
While there are several health benefits of using a kneeling chair, there are also a few cons you need to be aware of. With a kneeling chair:
- You will experience restricted leg movement when seated
- The added pressure on your shin will cause pain with time
- Getting up and sitting down is a bit of a workout.
- Over prolonged use, this chair will restrict circulation to your legs.
It is important to note that the kneeling chair needs not to be used alone for sitting. Make sure you interchange between your regular office chair and kneeling chair for maximum benefits. Depending on the kneeling chair you purchase, it may have a backrest. However, the main idea behind its design is to slant the user forward; therefore, getting one with a backrest is not necessary.
Other models will have a rocker base, which helps give you some movement working on your desk, rocking you gently when you lean forward, rocking you back as well.
It is advisable to look for the optimal incline of at least 20 to 30 degrees on a kneeling chair so that it is challenging to slouch and lean back. You should be able to adjust the height of the seat pan. Kneeling chairs are designed to be light; this makes it very easy to carry them when you are working.
If you have back pain issues, or you are recovering from poor posture, getting a kneeling chair might be the best solution for you. These chairs offer a safe and effective way to reverse your back issues.
By keeping your spine aligned, the kneeling chair provides optimal comfort, increasing your productivity. Before committing yourself to a purchase, consult your doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor for advice.