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Poor posture is one of the leading causes of back pain among office workers. And the traditional office chairs are the catalyst for bad posture. They encourage leaning too far back or slouching forward—increasing the likelihood of back pain or worsening an existing case of the same.
The kneeling chair is the new player in the world of ergonomic chairs. It promises to help you correct your posture and eliminate back pains and other problems tied to bad posture. It helps you sit more upright and maintain a standing lumbar curvature which is the root of correct posture.
But do kneeling chairs work to improve your posture? In our in-depth guide below, we’ll share more info from our research on how these chairs work to better your posture, how to use them to improve your posture, why posture matters, and so much more.
Table of Contents
Are kneeling chairs good for you? – Why the correct posture is important!
Before we get into more intimate details about kneeling chairs and posture, let’s first have a quick discussion on why the correct posture is important for you. And why you should be worried if you have bad posture.
Proper posture is when all the three spine curves (namely, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical curves) are well aligned and in balance, with your body weight evenly distributed over your feet. If you have the correct posture, your ankle, knee, hip, shoulder top, and ear seen from the side should line up vertically when standing.
Here’s why correct posture is important:
- Promotes good spine health: kneeling chairs are good for you because the correct posture leads to better spine health. If you practice poor posture habits and one of your spine discs herniate or degenerates, regenerating is impossible. It’s that serious!
- Prevents lower back problems: When you have the perfect posture, your lower back aches in its natural curve. This leads to decreased pressure on the back facet joint, consequently relieving your back of its pain. Or better off, preventing the lower back pain in the first place.
- Improves your standing posture: the acceptable posture comes out naturally when you stand. But if you work in an office where you spend most of the time sitting in the typical office chairs, poor posture habits will affect how you stand. To avoid this, ensure you’re always sitting with the correct posture. This will train your back and core muscles to excellently support your skeleton at all times.
- Boosts your confidence: Yes, you heard that right! The correct posture can significantly affect how you behave subconsciously. With the right posture, you stand tall and confident, and you’re more likely to feel in control. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology showed that people with good posture were more likely to think positively of themselves than those with a bad posture.
IMPORTANT: Bad posture can greatly affect your overall wellbeing. To be more specific, it can lead to back pains and poor breathability, headaches, constipation, and challenges when trying to sit properly (this occurs when your spine gets misaligned). When your bad posture brings about backaches, your productivity will likely go down as you can’t fully focus when feeling pain.
How a kneeling chair helps with posture
Now you know why sitting in the correct posture is good for you and your health. Let’s get into the details on how the ergonomic kneeling chairs help you sit in this posture.
A different way of sitting from a regular ergonomic chair
One of the top reasons the kneeling chairs are great for posture is that they completely change the usual way of sitting.
Unlike the regular ergonomic office chair that puts you at a 90-degree thigh/torso angle, a kneeling office chair puts you in a 10-20-degree trunk/thigh angle.
This is the ideal angle for reducing pressure on your spine discs when seated and relieving stress on your back.
Proper spine alignment
When you get in a kneeling chair, your pelvis gets pushed forward and tilted forward slightly. This is how the chair ensures correct alignment of the spine and keeps you from hunching forward and misaligning your spine into a C-shape.
When the knee chair puts your pelvis in this open position, your breathing improves with better posture. Your internal organs will not become compressed, and your digestion will also improve.
Even weight distribution
When on a kneeling chair, your hips slide forward. This makes your body weight get evenly distributed when you get into the best kneeling chair. This helps relieve tension in your back and spine area.
This helps reduce pain in the back. You can easily maintain the right posture without the discomfort brought about by pains and aches.
Strengthens your core
The chair heavily engages your cores (stomach and back muscles) to put you in an upright position. This is because many kneeling chairs available today lack back support.
With time, the muscles strengthen and help you maintain correct posture for long hours, even without a backrest you’re used to in your existing office chair.
However, keep in mind that it takes time to get used to this new sitting approach, and your cores may feel pain for the first few times. But it’s perfectly normal.
Reduces pressure on your spine
Another way a kneeling chair will help improve posture is by reducing pressure on your spine.
Too much spinal compression occurs when you’re in a regular chair at a 90-degree angle, unlike when you’re lying and standing.
But the kneeling chair sits you at a 20-degree slant angle that lessens the compression and helps even your spine donuts and disks.
This 2008 study carried out by Studies in Health Technology and Informatics shows confirm this theory:
An ergonomic kneeling chair at an inclination angle of 20 degrees or more can help you maintain standing lumbar curvature (and thus your posture) to a greater degree than the regular office chair.
Stops the slouching and slumping
It happens a lot that you’ll always find yourself slouching or sloping when using your standard computer chair.
But this becomes impossible when using a kneeling chair. It puts you in an upright posture that involves your core muscles.
Over time, the cores get stronger and can hold you in an upright position without feeling the need to slump or slouch.
Rocking kneeling chairs improve posture
Some kneeling chairs come with a rocking motion which further helps you improve posture.
The rocker base creates subtle rocking motion back and forth and further promotes active sitting. This strengthens your core muscles.
Kneeling chair with lumbar support
Some ergonomic kneeling chairs also come with lumbar support, which can be helpful for back pains and posture.
A good backrest lets you rest in a supported position while helping you maintain the spine’s natural curvature.
However, we don’t advise you to use the backrest the whole day. The chair is designed to improve posture without a backrest in the first place.
Therefore, the presence of this lumbar support can disrupt its effectiveness.
How to use a kneeling chair for good posture
How effective the kneeling chair gets at helping correct your posture depends on how well you use your kneeling chair. Below, we have outlined some quick tips on using a kneeling chair for better posture.
Sit in your chair correctly
To ensure you get into a correct postural position in your kneeling office chair, you need to ensure you pose in it correctly.
You want to ensure your bottom sits comfortably on the seat cushion as your legs are bent with the feet still on the floor.
Adjust the seat height and angle to your desired position. Finally, lift your legs and put them onto the shin pads (ie, the kneeling position).
Adjust the chair correctly for the desk
When using a kneeling chair in your office, you always want to make sure you set it at the perfect height for use with your office desk.
Ensure you can comfortably reach the keyboard and other items on the desktop without straining or putting your body in a manner that affects your posture.
Get a height-adjustable chair
An ergonomically designed kneeling chair should allow for height adjustment for a good fit.
This will help ensure the chair comfortably accommodates your body height for a comfortable sitting experience.
If you use a chair of the wrong size, it may do more harm to your posture than improve it.
Practice gradual transition
Instead of shifting from a traditional chair to the kneeling chairs at once, we advise gradual transitioning.
Try gradually increasing the amount of time you stay in this chair. This is important to give your body time to slowly adjust to the new way of sitting and prevent pain and aches.
Take short breaks
You should also take breaks when using your kneeling chair. Chairs without proper knee pads cushioning may end up hurting your knees.
Breaks will get pressure off your knees and stop this from happening. Taking breaks also encourages movement.
And as you already know, consistently moving around is a sure way to lessen the possibility of poor posture that comes with sitting at your office desk for long periods of time, say eight hours.
Alternate between sitting and standing
After spending a good amount of time in the chair, switch to a standing desk (remember improved posture is one of the top benefits of standing desks). This will encourage movement, which is highly beneficial. Furthermore, it helps you retain correct posture while using a standing desk or walking.
Adjust your position in the chair
You may also try changing your legs positions in the chair throughout the day. Try sitting with your legs outstretched in front of you.
You may also try with one of the legs, say the left foot, on the floor and the other on the knee pad. These variations help create movement, which is good for posture and health.
Can you use a kneeling chair all day?
You may think that staying in your kneeling chair for longer will help make your posture even better. But this isn’t true.
You cannot use the best kneeling chair all day. As you may already know, kneeling chairs force you to stay in the correct posture using your muscles. This is quite taxing because your muscles will eventually become fatigued, and you won’t be able to maintain this position for long.
The best way to use a kneeling chair is with short breaks in between. If you’re just getting started using these chairs, we suggest sitting on them for approx. 20 minutes before taking a break. But once you get used to them, you can start using them for (up to an hour) with breaks in between.
Still, the kneeling chairs are primarily intended for doing small tasks like writing, sewing, etc. In other words, they’re not designed for all-day use.
You’d also want to keep in mind that kneeling chairs generally don’t feature backrests, armrests, etc. These are all the great ergonomic features that enable you to sit in a traditional office chair for prolonged periods.
Wanna learn more? Read our article about the benefits of a kneeling chair.
Final words – Are kneeling chairs good for posture?
A kneeling chair will make a good alternative to the traditional office chair for office workers who want to improve their posture.
The best kneeling chair forces you to sit upright, it correctly aligns your spine, takes the pressure off the spine, and strengthens your core, all of which lead to improved posture.
We have discussed everything you need to know about the ergonomic kneeling chairs and posture improvement in the above guide. And we’re now hopeful that you’re in a better position to decide if these chairs will meet your needs.
Remember to follow our tips on how to use a kneeling chair correctly to ensure it meets your needs for improved posture.