Modern-day humans are workaholics and often end up spending a lot of time sitting on their chairs working. This can result in slouching which, in turn, wreaks havoc on your back and spine. Hence, plenty of ergonomic solutions have surfaced to put an end to all the musculoskeletal problems arising from sitting too long on a regular chair.
One such alternative is a kneeling chair. Think of it as a middle ground between a standing desk and sitting on a regular chair and is a great option for people who don’t prefer standing in the workspace. While you may view it as a strange form of sitting in front of your desk, but the design of these chairs does provide a lot of health benefits to users. So, if you are looking for an answer to the question: “Is kneeling better than sitting?”, then this blog will clear your doubts
Benefits of Kneeling Chairs
The general kneeling chair benefits include shifting your body forward, shins taking pressure off your spine and hips, and several other ergonomic benefits. The points given below will provide more details on the pros and health benefits of sitting in a kneeling chair:
1. Opens Your Hip Angle
Kneeling chairs place your thighs and knees at a downward angled position that can open up your hip joints. This, in turn, increases your hip angle from 90 degrees to around 110 degrees.
2. Load Shifting
This allows you to decompress your back muscles by shifting the strain to other body parts. With mainstream office chairs, your back, neck, and shoulder muscles do all the work, but in this case, your thighs do all the hard work.
Your back muscles are too small in size can’t take up the burden all the time. They are meant to support your spine but when your sitting posture is not right, then it can only do so much. Kneeling chairs are unique in this case since they shift the load to your thigh muscles. Your quad muscles are large and can strengthen while sitting on a kneeling chair.
3. Hip Position
People who sit in regular chairs are bound to slouch after a while of sitting. This hunches your hip girdle backward which increases spinal compression. However, a kneeling chair tips your hips forward to release some of your spinal compression. Moreover, it also helps to align your neck and shoulders properly. Your lower back is also supported well enough and placed in the right posture.
4. Strengthens Your Back And Core
Sitting on regular office chairs for long hours ends up ruining our back and spine posture. This is due to the unavoidable slouching while sitting on an office chair. Besides, it also weakens our core and back muscles. On the other hand, a kneeling chair allows you to sit at an appropriate angle that will help you strengthen your back and core gradually.
Hence, it helps you regain the proper spine posture by building muscle tissue to protect your spine. Moreover, you would be burning your calories just by sitting on a chair doing your office work.
5. Enhances Digestion And Breathing
As already mentioned, kneeling allows a bigger hip angle that offers more room. This aids in better digestion and increases your lung capacity. Hence, your breathing improves and your body gets a better oxygen supply.
Moreover, your pot belly problem will also go away with time along with fewer digestion troubles. So, you will be focused more on the work you are doing and not on physical ailments.
Drawbacks of Kneeling Chairs
While the half-kneeling posture does lessen the health risks associated with sitting still for long periods on a regular chair, it also has some cons that you should know.
- Restricts your leg movements
- Puts strain on your shins when used for prolonged durations
- Can impair blood flow to the legs
- Getting up and back into the chair is difficult
The downsides don’t mean that you should avoid using kneeling chairs. These indicate that kneeling chairs are most beneficial when used along with a regular chair. You need to interchange sitting on the two kinds of chairs to reap the maximum benefits and maintain your body posture.
Kneeling Chairs Versus Standing Desks
Both kneeling chairs and standing desks can put an end to your slouching and posture problems but we need to look a little deeper to understand them better. While standing desks allow you to freely move your legs which lubricates your joints and engages you in muscle activity, kneeling chairs don’t allow the same. Joint movement is essential to break the tension build-up in your spine from staying in the same position for too long.
On the other hand, a standing desk doesn’t involve the act of sitting. So, a prolonged period of standing can make your legs numb and strain your leg muscles while impairing blood circulation as well. Hence, standing for straight 8 hours in one go is not recommended either. It’s better to alter between a couple of options while you are working for long hours.
Is Kneeling Better Than Sitting?
Kneeling is far better than sitting because sitting ends up in you slouching to support your back muscles. Moreover, it has other benefits too like offering your pelvis a better angle and helping you regain a good body posture. Kneeling is also quite good for your back in the sense that sitting in a regular chair for long durations can strain your vertebrae but kneeling strengthens it. Moreover, kneeling can also activate your core muscles to support your back.
Is Kneeling Meant For Everybody?
Altering between kneeling and sitting periodically is proven to be quite good for your body posture and health. However, people with severe leg or back injuries should avoid using a kneeling chair because prolonged periods of using such chairs can put a lot of pressure on your shins.
How to Sit in a Kneeling Chair?
If you have decided to use a kneeling chair, then you must know the right way to sit on it. Misusing a kneeling chair is bound to cause several body issues and general discomfort. Keep in mind but kneeling chairs won’t have you kneeling all the way which would be quite strainful in the end. Rather, these chairs employ a method of half-kneeling which is quite beneficial for your skeletal and body posture. Given below are all the points you need to know to sit properly in a kneeling chair:
- Providing little to no effort while sitting in a kneeling chair will not be beneficial at all. You have to consciously position your core over your hips if you want to align your back, shoulders, and neck in a better way.
- Another thing to remember is keeping your knees bent while sitting in kneeling chairs. Make sure that the height of your chair is adjusted otherwise your calves won’t be placed properly resulting in hindering your blood circulation. So, your knee and shin angle should be open and the height of the chair adjusted accordingly to allow you to sit and get up from the chair comfortably.
- While sitting in a kneeling chair, you shouldn’t put much pressure on your knees. Rather, the goal is to put more pressure on your thighs to strengthen them and reduce the strain on your knees and spine. Otherwise, you could suffer from problems like improper blood circulation, loss of sensation in your lower legs, and overall discomfort.
- Make sure that your chair faces your work table if it doesn’t come with a swiveling feature. Else, you’ll find yourself twisting and turning your hips and spine to ease the discomfort. And this would put unnecessary strain on your body. A lot of kneeling chairs actually come with swivels and that makes it so much easier to turn and face your desk whenever you want to.
- The best kneeling chairs always come with the option of adjustments. These allow you to position your seat pad closer or further away from the knee pad. As a result, this can adjust the distance between the seat and knee pad in a way to allow you ample space to get in and out of your chair.
By now, you must have understood that kneeling chairs do offer plenty of benefits to people who want to improvise their posture and get rid of back pains. The design of a kneeling chair is meant to relax your spine and your shin but engage your thighs and your core muscles. Plenty of people have gotten rid of their back pain as a result of this. But, it won’t work well as an all-time sitting option and might cause some problems too. So, it is recommended that you alter periodically between kneeling, standing, and sitting to avoid the downsides of sitting for long hours.