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Varier Variable Balens kneeling chair

A Helpful Guide to Active Seating With Kneeling Chairs

Many people experience chronic back pain. It can range from mild to severe, but whatever the level, it can adversely affect your quality of life. No one wants to be sore continually or have jolts of pain with certain movements.

If extended periods of sitting cause you back pain, one way to address the situation is with a kneeling chair. This article explains how these chairs can be game-changers for people who have (or are concerned about developing) back pain.

What Causes Chronic Back Pain?

In addition to poor seated posture, several other conditions can cause persistent back pain, including:

  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Disk problems
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal that affects the nerves)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Piriformis syndrome (a disorder involving a muscle in the buttocks)

Most back pain can be worsened by hunching or leaning forward while sitting. Unfortunately, many of us spend several hours a day at a desk or other seated workstation and find ourselves in that ergonomically incorrect position often, if not continually. If we’re not careful, poor posture can contribute to long-term pain and discomfort. 

Are you looking to improve your seated posture? If so, you should consider a kneeling chair’s benefits. 

What Is a Kneeling Chair?

The name is pretty descriptive, but what is a kneeling chair specifically? This type of chair has a seat (that supports your weight) and two small platforms where you rest your shins (for balancing but not weight bearing), resulting in a position similar to kneeling. The difference is that your knees and shins are elevated off the ground, and your lower legs are at an angle rather than parallel to the floor. 

Some kneeling chairs feature a backrest, and most have curved surfaces that contact the ground, enabling a slight rocking movement.  

You may also hear people refer to kneeling chairs as knee seat chairs or ergonomic kneel chairs. 

Kneeling chairs were invented in the late 1970s when researchers realized that traditional chairs inhibit a person’s ability to bend at their hip joints. Kneeling chairs create a more open body angle and distribute a person’s weight between their buttocks and shins. Those characteristics can lead to a significant reduction in back pain. 

Norwegian industrial designer Peter Opsvik has played a pivotal role in advancing both the form and function of seating for decades, and his unconventional chair designs are known and admired worldwide. Among them is his innovative and highly regarded Varier Variable Balans kneeling chair, which we offer at Furniture For Life.  

What Does Active Seating Mean?

Active seating involves frequent movements and shifting of your weight to engage various muscles and muscle groups in an alternating fashion. This includes your core muscles. 

Sometimes called dynamic sitting, it’s a way to reduce the adverse effects of long periods of sitting. A kneeling chair that allows rocking movements can provide active seating benefits. 

Are Kneeling Chairs Good for You? 

If you have significant health issues, your doctor is the best person to answer that question. However, the answer is yes for people without concerns: Kneeling chairs are good for you. They provide multiple benefits, including:

Improved posture
Sitting in a knee seat chair naturally aligns your spine and hips in their optimal positions. Many people using a kneeling chair for the first time remark on the difference it makes in their posture and how effortless the change is. Their bodies just “know” what to do when given proper support and freer hip movement.   

Pain relief
Spending time with your bones and muscles properly aligned helps reduce typical back pain. 

Strengthened core muscles
Sitting in a kneeling chair engages your abdominal and back muscles. As you continue using it, you get what are essentially core muscle workouts without even knowing it. 

Enhanced comfort
Unsurprisingly, empowering your body to assume a healthy seated posture feels good. Some chairs also enable you to modify the seat height and other characteristics for maximum comfort.  

A kneeling chair’s benefits can also serve as the foundation for additional health and well-being improvements. For example, people typically have more energy and less pain at the end of their workday when they use a kneeling chair. Consequently, they’re more likely to exercise after work. Working out regularly helps them reach and maintain a healthy weight, sleep more soundly, and be healthier in general, so the benefits continue to compound.

Can your kneeling chair take the credit for all of those advantages? We’ll leave that to you to determine, but reducing your back pain undoubtedly supports increased activity levels.

Who Loves Kneeling Chairs?

Everyone can enjoy a kneeling chair. However, some people find them nearly indispensable. 

Health-conscious office workers are one such group. They know that ergonomic kneeling chairs are a better option than traditional office chairs for many people, and they’re always looking for ways to invest in their long-term health. As an added benefit, many report that a kneeling chair enhances their focus and can increase their productivity—something that managers and executives should note.

People who work from home also tend to love kneeling chairs. They enjoy the same health and functional benefits as their in-office counterparts. They also appreciate that kneeling chairs typically have smaller “footprints” than traditional desk chairs, which can be useful if space is limited in their home work area. 

Of course, you don’t have to be working to enjoy a kneeling chair. Many people with active lifestyles also want to be active in their sitting. Whether paying bills, working on a creative project, or having a meal, they like knowing that their abs and back muscles are engaged. 

How To Sit in a Kneeling Chair 

Once you’re used to a kneeling chair, sitting in it feels completely natural. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind with these chairs, including:

  • Place most of your weight on the seat
  • Use the knee pads for balance only
  • Move frequently and change positions often

You will figure out fairly quickly when and how long to use your chair. Just know that your comfort should guide how you sit in a kneeling chair. As with any type of chair, it’s good to get up from your kneeling chair periodically and walk around a bit.  

Get Familiar With Kneeling Chairs at Furniture For Life

Is a kneeling chair right for you? The only way to know for sure is to sit in one of them—or better yet, two. We recommend using versions with and without a backrest to see how they feel. 

Where’s the best place to do that? At a Furniture For Life showroom! It’s a relaxed environment that’s ideal for learning about this type of chair. 

Researching kneeling chairs (and massage chairs) is fun and effective with guidance from one of our friendly and knowledgeable Comfort Consultants. They can show you how to get into and out of a kneeling chair safely, describe the quality construction of the chairs we offer, and provide insights on the advantages of owning this type of chair for your home or office. 

So, visit the Furniture For Life showroom near you and start reducing your back pain today.

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