Time and time again you read that the root of all postural problems is sitting down at work. Despite the thousands of pounds that are invested in ergonomically designed chairs every year, they cannot stop us from sitting down for long periods of time and so the problem remains.
Perhaps a more radical approach is needed? Is it time to ditch chairs completely and try something else? Perhaps you should think about investing in kneeler chairs for your workplace.
What exactly are kneeler chairs?
Kneeler chairs are basically a support with pads which allows you to kneel when you are at your desk instead of sitting. They have become popular in recent years as office workers struggled to get comfortable over a long working day.
The theory is that by not sitting down you are avoiding the postural problems associated with that position. Instead, you rest your body with an open hip angle as your bottom and thighs are supported by a pad. At the same time, your knees and shins are supported by another, lower, pad.
Will they work for you?
It is easy to see how kneeling is better for your postural health. Your hips are eased forwards and it encourages a more upright posture. Also, your back, shoulders and neck are better aligned. However, postural comfort is very subjective and what works for one person may not work for another.
It is true that kneeling chairs promote ‘active sitting’. This is because they have no back support and so the core muscles have to work to maintain the body in an upright position. There is also no doubt that movement is good for you. It eases the pressure on you lower back, neck and shoulders. Movement can even increase your metabolism, which in turn increases the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and breaks down body fat. It is not just your postural health that reaps the benefits.
Those that use this type of office seating tend to find that they are best for short-term tasks rather than those jobs that require hours at a time in front of a screen. Kneeling chairs confine your legs to one position and some people find this can cause discomfort in the knees and lower legs. If you swap between a kneeler chair and a regular chair you can gain the maximum benefit from both.
Take a look at the Office Furniture Online range of kneeling chairs and select the one for you. Once you have made your purchase it is important that you use it correctly. Even though you are kneeling, your bottom should carry most of your weight. Do not rest weight on your knees. When you get onto the kneeler you should do this by first sitting and then moving into a kneeling position. It’s also important to stretch out your knees regularly and one at a time. It is still useful to get up and walk around regularly and to swap between a normal chair and a kneeler for maximum benefit. This is the best approach to avoid postural problems.