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Kneeling chairs are said to help people with lower back problems. They’re said to force you to have a good posture that aligns your spine better and prevents back problems.
But how true are these claims? What are the true benefits of kneeling chairs? The following post takes a closer look at the major benefits you get when you use a kneeling chair to help you decide if it’s really worth it.
A brief background to the kneeling chair
A kneeling chair is a specialized seat based on the original design in 1979 by Hans Christian Mengshoel.
The chair allows you to stay in a kneeling position, and your thighs drop to 60-70 degrees angle.
This means half of your body weight will be supported by your knees.
A scientific study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that a kneeling chair set at +20 degrees inclination angle maintains a lumbar curvature to a more significant extent than sitting on a standard computer chair.
The seat has evolved over the years and is now available in various designs and styles.
The most popular styles available today include: kneeling stool, kneeling seat with backrest, rocking chair, single knee pad chair, dual knee pads chair, x-frame stool, balans chair, or sit-stand chair.
That said, many kneeling chairs are intended for small tasks, including writing, sewing, etc. Kneeling chairs have gained high popularity in office workspaces and offer a good alternative to the standard office chair.
Benefits offered by a kneeling chair discussed
Now that you’re familiar with this type of chair, let’s explore the key benefits the ergonomic kneeling chairs will offer you.
Back pain relief
The main reason behind the high popularity of kneeling chairs is that they help reduce pain in your lower back. The temptation to slouch and put your spine in a poor, damaging posture is high with typical chairs. This happens even when you’re using an ergonomic office chair.
This seat positions you in such a way that your pelvis gets pushed forward and in open position, and the hips slide forward. This puts the spine in its natural shape/curvature. This unique way of sitting leaves you with no choice but to assume the proper way to seat and maintain standing lumbar curvature.
In other words, the seat automatically puts your spine in its natural shape. This helps put an end to back pains and prevents health complications in the long run.
Your body weight is evenly distributed when using this chair. This relieves tension around your body, including the back. Add to the fact that there’s no possibility of slouching in this type of chair, and it gets even better at relieving you of back problems.
While still at it, you’ll notice that some kneeling chairs come with back support. This is a helpful feature, but it makes the chair less ideal for fighting poor posture.
We only recommend getting an ergonomic chair with a backrest if you have back problems. In this regard, make sure you get a model with added lumbar support to support your back well. Otherwise, if you primarily want to improve your posture, you should get a backless chair.
Reduced hip pain
Do you suffer from hip pain? If yes, kneeling chairs work to alleviate this pain as well. Most kneeling chairs allow you to open up your hips when using them.
This minimizes compression around your hips as well as other joints. And the weight gets balanced and distributed around your back, hips, core, and shoulders instead.
Hip pain prevention becomes even better if you get a model with a saddle seat. This helps you improve your range of motion in your hip area and promotes active sitting.
Ergonomic kneeling chairs build your core muscles
Another reason to love an ergonomic kneeling chair is that it does a great job of keeping your core engaged.
This helps build strength and stability that can prove helpful in other aspects of your life.
The strengthening of your core muscles occurs due to the fact the seat makes you engage your back and abdominal muscles when using it.
Remember, the seat has no backrest, so you’ll be engaging these muscles for as long as you’re on this chair.
The result is that the muscles strengthen over time.
However, keep in mind that this is a long-term benefit and takes effect gradually.
The byproduct of correct posture encouraged by this unique seat is increased blood flow. This, in turn, helps send nutrients and energy to your brain and your body. Your mood improves and, consequently, your productivity becomes better!
So, if you always find your productivity dwindling while using office chairs, consider introducing a kneeling chair in your home space. This way, you can be alternating between the two chairs, keep your blood flowing and increase your work volume!
Stops organ compressions
One of the disadvantages of a normal sitting chair is putting you in a position that compresses your internal organs. This affects how various body organs perform. It can disrupt normal digestion and make breathing difficult.
Luckily, ergonomic kneeling chairs will prevent this from happening. They force you to stay up straight, which is essential in ensuring your organs don’t get squashed.
You can actually feel the difference in breathing and digestion as you transition from a traditional office chair to a kneeling chair.
What are the downsides of a kneeling chair?
Though the kneeling seat offers you multiple benefits, as discussed above, it’s not without some problems. Before you get a kneeling, keep in mind that you’re likely to encounter the following issues when using it
It puts pressure on your shins and knees
The angle the seat puts you in may inflict pressure on your shin and knees compared to the traditional chair. If you have a bad knee(s) or past surgical knee replacement, therefore, this seat may cause you more harm than good.
Limited motion range
Your movement will be restricted when using a kneeling chair. This is because it puts your legs in a manner that they stay in the kneeling position throughout. This contributes to stress on your shins and makes it challenging to make quick movements.
That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that the range of movement will depend on the model you get. The most common styles include rocking (sled base), x-based, and 5-star base.
The rocker base kneeling chairs allow for some movement, while the latter two models put you into a single position throughout the day.
May limit blood circulation to legs
Another problem with using the kneeling chairs for long is that they may cut circulation to your legs. This is especially true if you don’t use these chairs correctly.
The increased pressure on your knees as a result of bending your knees at the same time reduces circulation, causes lightheadedness, loss of sensation throughout your legs, and even fainting.
It may be uncomfortable
An ergonomic kneeling chair is built to offer the user excellent comfort. But it may not work for everybody. This is based on the fact that the seat redistributes the work to body parts.
And if you’re deconditioned or simply not consistent with routine exercise, your cores, hips, and back muscles will likely get sore with continued use.
However, these discomforts usually occur when you’re still getting used to kneeling chairs and disappear with time.
Kneeling chair vs standing desk: which is better?
The kneeling chair and standing desk are types of office furniture designed to help you avoid sitting for extended hours.
As you already know, sitting has been declared the new smoking and comes with a list of health risks like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems.
So, which of these two office furniture is better for you, kneeling chair or standing desk?
As we have just discussed above, the key benefits of a kneeling chair are improving your posture, alleviating back pains, and helping build your core muscles.
Standing desks, on the other hand, do a great job at helping you remain active and beat the fatigue that comes with sitting down in your standard seat for long hours. It also helps take the stress off your back, shoulders, neck, and knees.
Unlike a kneeling chair, you can only use the standing desks in intervals…because standing too long isn’t good either.
All in all, both kneeling chairs and sit-stand desks break you free from the regular chair and prevent sitting for long periods of time. They also help relieve pressure from your back and help with lower back pain. Not to forget that both will increase your productivity in your workspace.
Overall, the ideal choice for you depends on your preferences. If you want the benefits offered by a sit/stand desk, get one. Go with a kneeling chair if you believe it will save your back problems and help prevent poor posture.
If your budget allows, you can get a standing desk and a kneeling seat in your office. This will let you alternate between normal sitting offered by office chairs, kneeling, and standing.
If space is an issue, you can get a sit/stand desk converter that helps you convert your existing office desk into a standing one.
Final Word – Kneeling Chair Benefits
From the above discussion, it’s crystal clear that a kneeling chair comes with a handful of benefits. It forces you to sit in a way that promotes good posture and helps reduce or prevent back pains.
An ergonomically designed kneeling chair also helps you build core muscles. Your productivity will also increase, and you’ll enjoy better breathing and digestion as it stops congestion of your internal organs.
You may feel discomfort when using your new seat for the first few times. But this is perfectly normal and you shouldn’t give up too soon. You’ll get used to it eventually, and you’ll enjoy all the benefits that come with this unique type of chair.
Remember that the kneeling chair shouldn’t replace the traditional office chairs. Instead, you should use keep your existing office chair and get one of those ergonomic kneeling chairs as an alternative.
Overall, learn how to use a kneeling chair to escape the static sitting on the traditional office chair and help you avoid risks associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time