It’s no secret that sitting isn’t good for us—according to Better Health, prolonged sitting increases the chance of getting diabetes by 112%. If you suffer from back pain, maintaining good posture while working at your desk by swapping out your regular chair for a kneeling chair might be an excellent solution for you.
But are kneeling chairs actually good for you?
Kneeling chairs are actually good for you. According to Studies in health and informatics, ergonomic kneeling chairs set at +20 degrees inclination helps maintain a neutral spine than sitting on a standard computer chair, which may benefit your back health in the long run.
That said, there is more to kneeling chairs than you can imagine. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what kneeling chairs are, their health benefits, and how to use them. Are kneeling chairs good for you?
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Are Kneeling Chairs Good For You?
An Introduction to Kneeling Chairs
At first glance, you might not guess that you’re looking at a chair when you see a kneeling chair. Compared to other types of office chairs, kneeling chairs are unique. It doesn’t have a back, and its seat leans at a forward angle. Additionally, there’s an angled piece below the seat where you rest your shins.
Engineers designed kneeling chairs to maximize ergonomics. The chair guides you into a position that encourages your hips to open, which in turn gives your organs space to perform their functions better.
Your back, shoulders, and neck will all maintain better alignment while sitting in this chair without you having to remind yourself to sit up straight. In fact, kneeling chairs shift your upper body forward, which promotes correct spinal alignment.
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Health Benefits of Kneeling Chairs
Kneeling chairs will help you eliminate common pain points from sitting at a desk for too long, including pain in your back, neck, and shoulders. However, there are many other health benefits of kneeling chairs, including:
- More oxygen flows to your brain since your body is more open, allowing better breathing.
- Improved digestion, as your internal organs have more space to function.
- Stronger core since there is no backrest, so your abs have to work harder to keep you upright.
- Lower blood sugar levels since active muscles use up more sugar than sedentary muscles.
- Helps burn more calories, thus promoting weight control.
Kneeling chairs are starting to get traction in office vocabulary, but back in 2008, scientists were already studying the impact of kneeling chairs on lumbar curvature compared to regular chairs.
The results showed that kneeling chairs with a 20-degree or greater inclination showed a “significant difference” in maintaining healthy lumbar curvature. In layman’s terms, that means less spinal pain and better posture.
Are Kneeling Chairs Good for Your Back?
Kneeling chairs are actually good for your back. According to the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, core stabilization exercise is more effective than physical therapy exercise in fighting lower back pain, and since you engage your core while sitting on a kneeling chair, it helps fight back pain.
If you struggle with back pain from prolonged time sitting at a desk, it may seem counterintuitive to remove the backrest to eliminate your back pain. However, this is exactly what kneeling chairs do and what makes them an excellent option for people with back struggles.
There are two reasons why kneeling chairs are good for your back. The first is because kneeling chairs encourage better weight distribution. By angling your body slightly forward, they reduce the stress on your lower spine and prevent it from becoming compressed.
Secondly, kneeling chairs help strengthen the muscles in your back, which will reduce back pain over time. Since these chairs force your core and back to stay engaged while you’re sitting, you’ll tighten the muscles.
In fact, many health professionals blame a lack of muscular strength as one of the biggest causes of back pain.
How Often Should You Use a Kneeling Chair?
Although kneeling chairs are good for you, they require your body to remain active, so they’re likely not something that you’ll be able to sit in for eight hours a day. Furthermore, kneeling chairs can reduce circulation to your legs and put extra pressure on your kneecaps.
However, the fact that these chairs require you to stand every so often and shake out your legs is yet another benefit of what makes them so great for your health.
You should aim to start slow when using kneeling chairs—even a few minutes at a time might feel like enough for you when you’re first starting out. Over time, you should be able to build your way up to using kneeling chairs for longer periods.
We recommend using your kneeling chair for 20 minutes within every 30-minute period. Ideally, you should spend the remaining 10 minutes standing and moving around.
The bottom line, though, is that any amount of time you’re able to spend in a kneeling chair is time spent away from a regular chair. So, you’ll still get to enjoy the health benefits of being in a kneeling position regardless of how much time you use this chair.
Tips for Sitting in a Kneeling Chair
Are kneeling chairs good for you?
Absolutely. Still, kneeling chairs don’t appear intuitive to use for many people when they first see them. However, once you settle in, the chair will do most of the work for you.
Nevertheless, it’s important to understand the ideal way to use a kneeling chair so that you can maximize the benefits it offers. Below is our advice for using a kneeling chair:
- Sit in your kneeling chair by first setting your bottom on the seat. Then follow that with setting your shins and kneecaps on the shin rest.
- Change your leg position while sitting. You can alternate setting one leg on the floor and placing both feet on the ground to stretch them out and improve circulation.
- Be mindful that your spine stays in alignment. The chair will do most of this work for you, but you should be aware of it.
Finally, be patient. Kneeling chairs may feel a little awkward at first, especially if you don’t have much strength in your core and lower back. However, your body will build up muscle with continual use, and sitting in your kneeling chair will feel like second nature.
Ready to Swap Out Your Chair for a Kneeling Chair?
Now you know that kneeling chairs are actually good for you and your back.
If you are ready to incorporate kneeling chairs into the mix, consider reading our comprehensive post about the best ergonomic kneeling chairs. Not only will you get the top 5 products to choose from, but you’ll also get a simple buyer’s guide to choosing the right one. It can make your workday much more pleasant.
Whether you’ll be a kneeling chair trendsetter at your office or are joining your coworkers who already use them, it’s never too late to take part in this healthy trend.
With so many health benefits that kneeling chairs offer, they’re an excellent option for people who spend long hours working at a desk. Kneeling chairs, especially ones that are ergonomic, will help you build muscle, improve your posture, and reduce pain in areas that regular sitting usually causes.
- Bettany-Saltikov J, Warren J, Jobson M. Ergonomically designed kneeling chairs are they worth it? : Comparison of sagittal lumbar curvature in two different seating postures. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2008;140:103-6. PMID: 18810008.
- Akhtar MW, Karimi H, Gilani SA. Effectiveness of core stabilization exercises and routine exercise therapy in the management of pain in chronic non-specific low back pain: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Pak J Med Sci. 2017 Jul-Aug;33(4):1002-1006. doi: 10.12669/pjms.334.12664. PMID: 29067082; PMCID: PMC5648929.