A kneeling chair might be an unfamiliar piece of office equipment for most people, but they have been around since the late 70s. Originally created as a way to reduce the strain on your lower back and buttocks, a kneeling chair is an excellent alternative to standard office seating for those who want a more ergonomic way to sit.
Learning how to use a kneeling office chair may take some practice, but once you are seated properly in one you might find them to be a much more comfortable option to standard seating. There are both adjustable and non-adjustable kneeling office chairs, so be sure to select the type that fits your personal needs.
Whether you are leaning over a desk on a daily basis writing, improving your art, or working on sewing projects, the physical benefits an ergonomic kneeling office chair provides can be noticed over time.
Additionally, kneeling chairs are not just for adults. More and more people have started using them for their children. Better blood flow throughout the body also helps to increase focus, which is a highly desirable benefit for children working on school studies and homework projects.
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What is the Use of a Kneeling Chair?
Kneeling office chairs are a highly effective way to align your spine when sitting for a variety of tasks. For example, if you work at a desk doing a lot of typing or art, you may bend forward when using a standard office chair. This puts strain on your spine, pelvis, and other joints in your lower body. It can also increase the risk of muscle strain or pinched nerves, especially if you do a lot of unnatural physical movements with your arms and upper body.
By using a kneeling chair, you are vertically aligning your spine with the pelvis at a much more natural angle. This reduces the chance of misaligned or pinched nerves the entire length of your spine from neck to hips, and opens up the spinal column to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation between your vertebrae. Over time, you will increase the strength in your back and hips which can ultimately lead to better overall physical and even mental health.
Additionally, having a kneeling chair to use as an alternative to a standard office chair on occasion can give you the best of both worlds. You can enjoy sitting in your standard office chair for most of your workday, and switch over to using the kneeling chair for the other half. This provides the ergonomic benefits of the kneeling chair without forcing your body to get used to it all at once.
How to Use a Kneeling Office Chair
After you have selected your kneeling office chair, by ensuring it can either be adjusted or is made to the proper size for your body, give it a few tests by sitting in it as instructed in the user manual.
Sit on the seat as you would normally. Start slowly by bending one leg and resting your knee on the knee pad. Ensure you are comfortable with one leg before placing the other leg on the knee pad as well. You may feel improperly balanced at first, but this feeling will go away as you adjust your weight.
Keep most of your weight on your buttocks. You should not be placing much weight on your knees. Too much weight placed on your knees can reduce blood flow and lower circulation. Your knees are there to help align your spine and provide balance for your body overall.
Some kneeling office chairs are made to rock gently back and forth. This can help you adjust your body weight in a comfortable manner. If the rocking base is not appealing, a majority of kneeling chairs have very secure footing to provide proper balance and support while you get used to the change in posture.
Additionally, as you use your chair more often your muscles will start to strengthen since there is no backrest to lean or slouch against. This will make further sitting in the kneeling office chair much more comfortable over time. Always be sure to ease into using your kneeling chair. Don’t expect your body to be able to adjust to the different sitting posture immediately.
What Angle Should a Kneeling Chair Be?
When you are sitting in a standard office chair, your legs in comparison to your spine sit at a 90-degree angle. Your knees also bend and your lower legs sit at another 90-degree angle in comparison to your upper legs. This has been found to increase the likelihood of pinched nerves, poor circulation, and lower leg numbness when sitting for long periods.
A properly adjusted kneeling office chair should be 60–70 degrees from vertical with a slope of around 25–30 degrees or slightly less. The entire goal of this alignment is to open the torso and hips and reduce strain on your spinal column. Don’t be afraid to adjust your kneeling chair to suit your personal preferences so that you are comfortable and balanced.
If you plan on using your kneeling office chair throughout most of your workday, be sure to try out a number of kneeling chairs before purchasing one. Since one size does not fit all, this is one of the most important aspects when selecting your first kneeling office chair. Find one that fits your body properly and feels comfortable to sit in right from the start. These initial assessments can go a long way in ensuring you remain comfortable as time goes on.
If you are not sure which kneeling chair is the best for you, contact an ergonomics specialist to take your physical measurements and compare them to the chair frame or adjustment options the kneeling chair has. This will also ensure you place the proper amount of weight on your seat cushion instead of your knee cushion without feeling like you are struggling to sit upright or maintain your balance comfortably.
How Long Does it Take to Get Used to a Kneeling Office Chair?
Kneeling office chairs are definitely going to feel strange at first. Your entire seated balance and body position is changed quite drastically from a standard office chair. It may take up to two weeks to get used to sitting in a kneeling chair. Sometimes you may notice it takes longer than two weeks. It will depend on how long you use the chair on a daily basis.
The easiest way to help this transition is by allowing your body time to adjust and not force the process. Don’t try to sit in a kneeling office chair for hours on end, especially for your first or second time. Give it some time, then switch to either standing or a standard type office chair. Over time, you will develop new and stronger muscle clusters along your spine and pelvis allowing you to sit for longer and longer periods in your kneeling chair.
Another way to ensure you can quickly get used to a kneeling office chair is by selecting the properly sized chair when it comes to your own body shape and size. Even a properly sized kneeling chair might look too small for you at first. This is natural. Since you will not have a back support nor armrests, the size of the chair is greatly reduced when compared to a standard office chair.
Additionally, your kneeling chair will only have two cushions. One for your body to rest the majority of your weight on, and the other to offer counter balance from your knees and lower legs.
Kneeling office chairs are an excellent alternative to standard chairs which keep your body at sharp 90-degree angles. The physical benefits offered by the more ergonomic shape of a kneeling chair has been said to reduce or eliminate lower back pain in some users.
Additionally, kneeling chairs help increase blood flow to your spine by helping improve the vertical alignment and reduce nerve pinching when sitting in a standard office chair.
While it might take a week or two to get used to, kneeling chairs can offer a range of benefits for those who lean over a desk often for work or hobbies. They should not make up the entirety of your seating arrangements, but can make a perfect alternative to standard chairs and standing at your workstation.
As time goes on and your body becomes more used to sitting in a kneeling chair, you will start to notice changes in your core strength. Additionally, you might notice that previous lumbar and lower backaches and pain have been reduced or eliminated since sitting in a kneeling chair. Because the angle of the chair and how your body rests on it is much more natural, your body will respond by increasing blood flow to different muscle groups, increasing the range of motion in your vertebrae and pelvis, as well as different joints in your lower body.