Sitting at a desk for hours on end can leave you with an aching back and shoulders. The problem might be your chair.
Traditional office seating doesn’t promote a healthy alignment of the neck, shoulders, and spine. Instead, our shoulders can hunch or become tense, and our spines can fall into a C shape.
This posture will result in back and neck pain and even damage to your spine over time.
Kneeling chairs prevent this by tilting the seat forward and eliminating the backrest.
The position of these chairs straightens the back without creating tension and places the neck and head in a comfortable and healthy position you can hold for hours.
Ready to learn more? Here’s what you should look for in the best kneeling chair.
What is a Kneeling Chair?
Kneeling chairs look nothing like traditional chairs, which put the thighs at a 90-degree angle from the spine.
Throughout a workday, this puts stress on the lower back and hips.
In the 1970s, several Norwegian designers created versions of kneeling chairs that put the thighs at a 60- to a 70-degree angle and have the shins supporting some of the body’s weight. This position puts the spine in a more natural, healthful alignment.
Kneeling chairs engage different muscle groups than traditional office chairs, so when trying a kneeling chair for the first time, take it easy.
Don’t sit in one for the entire workday, or you might be sore in the morning. Instead, use it for small amounts of time at first as your body acclimates to the change in chairs.
What Should I Look for in a Kneeling Chair?
When shopping for a kneeling chair, look for these features, and keep in mind your body’s unique needs.
Considering these features in kneeling chairs will guide you to a kneeling chair choice that will serve you well day after day.
A kneeling chair seat that works best for your body will open your hips and adjusts posture from the lumbar region up.
The tilt of kneeling chair seats takes the pressure off the spine while engaging your core.
Kneeling chairs should have a cushioned, comfortable seat that tilts forward at the correct angle for your body. Usually, the angle is about 110 to 130 degrees, but even a difference of a few degrees can be huge when it comes to getting the proper spinal alignment for comfort and health.
Make sure your kneeling chair does tilt forward and isn’t set at a horizontal 90 degrees. If it is a flat-seated chair, it’s not a true kneeling chair.
Before purchasing a kneeling chair, you may want to try one out to see what angle feels best.
Since kneeling chairs take pressure off the spine and hips by tilting the pelvis forward, some of the body’s weight is supported by knees and shins.
You’ll want to make sure your kneeling chair has comfortable knee and shin padding that will cradle your joints.
Kneeling chairs should fit the size and shape of your body to be most effective and to offer you the most comfort.
Since these ergonomically designed chairs come in different sizes, you’ll want to choose one that’s best suited for your weight and height.
Since kneeling chairs tend to be lightweight, and many of them have casters, you’ll want to find a kneeling chair that makes it easy for you to balance your body weight without falling.
You won’t want to risk tipping over every time you try to sit down at your desk!
Some kneeling chairs have a rocking feature. Some kneeling chair users love this, but others don’t.
Our advice is to try out a rocking kneeling chair before buying to see if this is a feature you’d enjoy.
Some kneeling chairs are adjustable. If you are purchasing a kneeling chair online, this is a great feature. You can adjust the kneeling chair to fit your body.
Pros of Kneeling Chairs
Kneeling chairs have a huge fan base because of how they take pressure off the spine and lumbar discs.
Here are some of the other reasons kneeling chair users love them.
If the spine is properly aligned, so are the body’s internal organs.
Kneeling chair users say that their abdomens are not compressed when seated in a kneeling position, so working at your desk after a big lunch won’t be an uncomfortable experience.
As you continue to use your kneeling chair, you’ll find that your core and back muscles get stronger.
Because kneeling chairs don’t have backrests, your abdominal muscles are engaged, giving them a gentle workout every time you use your kneeling chair.
Cons of Kneeling Chairs
Everyone’s body is different, so it makes sense that a kneeling chair may not suit everyone. Here are a few cons to using kneeling chairs for office seating.
Pressure on Shins and Knees
Shins support part of the body’s weight when you use a kneeling chair, so this might cause you pain over time.
Knees will also feel pressure in this sitting position, so if you have shin splints or knee pain, a kneeling chair might not be right for you.
When seated for a long time, some kneeling chair users find that sitting in them can restrict leg circulation.
This is because leg movement is restricted when using a kneeling chair.
Difficult to Get Up
Sitting down and getting up from a kneeling chair can be awkward and takes longer than using a traditional office chair.
Alternatives to Office Chairs
Traditional office chairs can leave you with aches and pains after a day of work, but there are alternatives to using a desk chair eight or more hours a day.
Exercise Ball Chairs
Those large exercise balls that you may have for crunches at your gym can be used as desk chairs with the addition of a base to keep them from rolling away.
Without a backrest, this seating option engages the core and lower back muscles to hold your body steady. They aren’t designed as seating options so might not be comfortable for all-day sitting.
Switching up Seating
Another option is to use a kneeling chair interchangeably with a traditional desk chair.
This way, your back gets a break with a kneeling chair — but not at the expense of your knees and shins.
Another tip for taking the stress and strain out of sitting at your desk working is to get up and move.
Stretching exercises throughout the day can lessen pain from sitting. Health experts have recommended sitting 20 minutes out of every half hour of work, standing for eight minutes, and moving for two minutes.
Kneeling Chair Options
We searched online for the best options in kneeling chairs, looking for options that are adjustable and have generously padded cushions that will make working at your desk comfortable all day long.
We also include options with casters and a rocking kneeling chair.
TechOrbits Kneeling Chair
Adjustable with a turn of a dial, this kneeling chair has height options ranging from 21 inches to 29 inches.
Balans Rocking Kneeling Chair
Designed by one of the originators of the kneeling chair, Peter Opsvik, this wood-framed kneeling chair rocks, which can help in easing back pain.
Wooden Kneeling Chair with Casters
With an adjustable height from 20 inches to 27.9 inches and a wooden frame, this kneeling chair rolls smoothly in office settings.
Mefeir Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
The cushions on this kneeling chair are extra wide, making it a comfortable fit for most people.
The seat cushion is 17 inches wide, and the kneeling pad is 18.9 inches across.
ProErgo Pneumatic Kneeling Chair
With three-inch padded cushions and a pneumatic pump, this kneeling chair is comfortable and adjustable, so you can customize it to your liking.
Pull Up a Chair
It’s hard to do your best work at the office if your chair is a pain in the neck, not to mention your back. If you are suffering from back pain and have a desk job, the culprit might be your traditional office chair.
Using a kneeling chair will put your spine in proper alignment, aid digestion, and take pressure off discs in your lower back.
Sitting in a kneeling chair will improve your posture, strengthen your core, and you’ll be less likely to slump. Neck and shoulder tension will melt away over time.
As you may be using different muscles in a kneeling chair than you would in a traditional office chair, it’s wise to try out a kneeling chair for short periods at first to get used to it. Once your body acclimates to a kneeling chair, you may never want to go back to sitting in a traditional desk chair.
Choosing the right kneeling chair for your weight and height is important for getting the pain relief and a more comfortable workday. Considering these kneeling chair recommendations will bring you better work and better health.
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