‘Ergonomics’ is a buzzing topic right now. Everyone is looking for something new that will make their daily life easier. Reflecting on several studies conducted, the hazards of sitting in the same position for too long has been a great concern of worry! Common agreement amongst researchers, have always been that a poor seating posture eventually leads to individuals developing low back problems. Today, a lot of people have to sit for a prolonged period of time in chairs for works, offices, etc. so they are shifting towards kneeling chairs considering its benefits.
What are kneeling chairs anyway?
A kneeling chair is the chair that lets you sit in a position with your thighs dropped to an angle of about 60° to 70° from the vertical ( 90° when you sit with a correct posture on a normal chair), with a portion of your body weight supported by the shins instead of your entire back and hips. The first ever kneeling chair was designed way back in 1979 by Designer Hans Christian Mengshoel, calling it his very original Balans Chair. Although the first one of these we made out of wood, today the most popular ones have a metal frame.
With almost all the kneeling chair designs looking same, the real idea behind the design is that one seat is angled a little forward in order to balance the pelvis, leading to the spine to be in a natural position with an open hip angle. The shin pads in a kneeling chair prevent the body from slipping forward, however the knee pads are not necessarily always used. The position in a kneeling chair encourages the users postural muscles to alight with you back, neck and shoulders.
Benefits of a kneeling chair
Reduction in spine pressure: Kneeling chairs offers you a sitting position lets you sit in a position with your thighs dropped to an angle of about 60° to 70° from the vertical , creating a 110° trunk/thigh angle, as compared to the traditional chair with an angle of strict 90°. This shift of angle reduces your spine pressure excessively when you sit by distributing it, offering you a very comfortable seating experience. trunk/thigh angle position with a traditional chair.
Alignment of back, neck, and shoulders: When the user’s hips slide down forward while seasted on a kneeling chair, the weight of the body is evenly distributed with some o0f it miving even towards the thighs and legs. This will further bring your back, neck and shoulders in an alignment greatly reducing the lower back stress and spinal compression.
Flexibility: Apart from just providing an amazing sitting experience, some chairs even let you change the seat’s height, angle of slope and so on. This user friendly interface will help in providing different degrees of comfort according to individual tastes.
Improved health benefits: Not only helping with your alignment by distributing load, the tilting of pelvis forward stretches the spine. A long with this, health benefits like improves digestion, improved respiration, etc. This is because the internal organs are outstretched in this position, and have to deal will little or no stress from sitting position.
Strong core and back muscles: Use of kneeling chairs for an extended period of time, will graduallty let to your muscles strengthening. This so because your muscles in the core area and back are subjected to no back rest, and your muscles are constantly engaged without much pressure.
Vigorous at different activities: Since, the kneeling chair gets rid of you pain, the psychological hinderance at work or other activities are slightly lifted. On top of that, straight spine promotes better circulation, better oxygen flow in the body and better transport of nutrients, making all the other bodily functions feasible and healhy. This also greatly increases your vigour and energy towards your work.
Downsides of a kneeling chair
As the two sides of a coin, everything has a pro and a con. Here, are some of the downsides of extended use of a kneeling chair:
- Restricted leg movements: Since, the legs are supported on the knees and also shins, flexible movements of legs as in a conventional chair might be restricted to some degree.
- Pain over time: Constant use of the kneeling chair, pressure on shins might cause pain in body parts like legs over time.
- Blood circulation in the legs: Kneeling chairs, over time, have a threat of posing the restriction of blood flow in the legs.
- Getting up and sitting down: With a knee rest, shin rest present in a kneeling chair, swift and quick movements on need can be a little difficult and time consuming.
What other chairs are there in the market similar to kneeling chairs?
Active sitting is a ‘hot-topic’ and it can be achieved in many forms, with even office chairs providing this experience effectively. Some of them are:
Saddle chairs are chairs that resembles the appearance of an equestrian saddles, that comes with a chair base on casters and a gas cylinder for the adjustment of appripriate sitting height.
Reduces lower back pain.
Aligns your neck and back, correcting several postural problems.
Encourages active sitting.
Usually too tall for standard desk height.
A certain period of adjustment is needed.
Yoga Ball Chairs
Ball Chairs are usually a highly portable sitting apparatus, that generally comes with adjustable leg, a strong metal frame and a rubber lumbar support system.
improved posture with balanced body alignment
Stong muscles at the lower back and core.
Immediate adjustment is very difficult.
Plastic ballstands, if used, might not last over time.
Inflation of balls can be problematic sometimes.
So, should you get a kneeling chair among all these?
The answer is simple, YES!
A kneeling chair is just a slight modification from a regular chair, so adjustment to the new features will not be as bad as ball chairs or any other chairs with extravagant designs. The kneeling chairs although are susceptible to cause back pains in the long run, switching between the conventional office chairs and kneeling chairs is recommended, but mitigate the long term effect plus provide immediate reliefs.
Considering the several advantages it offers, kneeling chairs are pretty much worth both the money and the hype, and is a good investmennt not only to your study/work table but to your mental health as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do kneeling chairs really help?
More then thousands of users today, have confirmed that switching to an ergonomic kneeling chairs have helped them a lot with lower back problems and muscle cramps in the stomach areas. So, it must really work!
How long can you sit on a kneeling chair?
Although the posture benefits and digestion benefits of a kneeling chairs are intact, it is highly recommended to not shift your entire sitting hours onto a kneeling chair. But, switching back and forth between a normal chair and a kneeling chair is recommended. A person should sit in a kneeling chair for a maximum of 8 hours.
What chairs do Chiropractors recommend?
Chiropractors are the medical professionals specializing in the correct posturing and balance of the body. Researches have shown that Chiropractors believe kneeling chairs help our body to maintain its natural curvature, mitigating the discomforts from sitting for a prolonged time in chairs.