Are Kneeling Chairs Actually Good For You?
If you are constantly working overtime, desk-bound, hunched over your computer and endless paperwork, you are well advised to consider using an ergonomic kneeling chair.
This innovative chair can help you with maintaining a good sitting posture, better spine health, reducing aches and pains, thereby enhancing alertness and increased productivity. You’ll leave at the end of the day feeling better and lose the pains associated with traditional chairs.
You have seen kneeling chairs online, as well as in shops and offices. Your friends may have purchased one. You have heard that a posture chair is good for lower back pain.You are thinking about buying one and you ask yourself….”what are the pros and cons of a kneeling office chair, and is it suitable for me?”
The answer to this question is a simple ‘yes’, provided that you understand the ergonomic principle of a kneeling chair, and you use it correctly.
1. What happens to the body when we sit?
We first need to look what happens to our body when we sit and our thighs are at a 90 degree angle to our back:
As we sit down completely, the ligaments attaching the femurs to the pelvis pull on the back of the pelvis, rotating it backwards through the remaining 300 and this causes a flattening of the lumbar curve.
2. Principle of a kneeling chair
The name “kneeling chair” can be a little misleading as it leads you to believe that your knees are taking the bulk of your weight and replacing the function of your buttocks. This actually isn’t the case. Your buttocks will still carry about 80% of your weight, and the knee pad is only there to act as a support so you do not slide off the inclined seat.
The underlying principle of a posture chair is to maintain an ‘open’ pelvis while you are sitting. This reduces the strain in your lower back that normally occurs when you sit on a conventional chair. An ‘open’ pelvis is when the angle between your spine and thighs is at least 1100.
By opening the pelvis and lowering the knees in relation to the hips to create a 1100 back-thigh angle, the disc pressure in the lumbar region of the spine is reduced by up to 65% when compared to sitting in the traditional 900 back-thigh angle position.
3. Benefits of a Kneeling office chair – the PROS
There are numerous pros and cons of kneeling chairs. Let’s first look at the pros.
Kneeling chairs create a 1100 back/thigh angle as compared to the 900back/thigh angle with a traditional chair. This creates a more natural spinal curve which dramatically reduces the pressure in the lumbar discs of your spine when you sit.
Kneelers reduce lower back pain
Opening the pelvis reduces the compression of the internal organs and abdominal muscles. This allows for easier breathing and digestion.
With no backrest to support you, your core and back muscles are more engaged which strengthens your core.
Because your core muscles are more engaged, your blood circulates better, carrying nutrients and oxygen to the brain and the body, so that you feel more energised.
Poor posture eventually leads to fatigue, discomfort and loss of productivity. By keeping the spine properly aligned, comfort and concentration are greatly increased.
4. Limitations of a Kneeling office chair – the CONS
1. Discomfort and inconvenience
While these type of chairs are known to help with eliminating lower back problems, they also tend to cause distress in other areas, especially the legs. This issue is easily avoidable if the chair is well fitted and aligned with the user. However, discomfort arises in situations where the knees are resting on the forward support pad, instead of the shins.
From a practical viewpoint, ergonometric kneelings chairs are usually deemed more inconvenient and awkward as opposed to other models of ergonomic chairs. For one, they tend to be tough to get into and out of due to the tight spacing between the support pad and the angled seat. This makes covering a large worktable almost impossible.
2. Not ideal for extended periods of time
Ergonometric kneelings chairs are ideally beneficial if used for relatively short time periods. Using this kind of chairs for an extended period may lead to more discomfort and fatigue than your previous chair did.
The ergonomic kneeling chair is a good solid investment in your future health as well as for your current comfort and wellbeing. So if you care about your health and sit for prolonged periods especially while working, why not get hold of an ergonomic kneeling chair to help improve your posture and avoid potential future back problems.