In the words of Mac Miller, I’m far too young to grow old – or to have chronic back pain, at least. The reason for this premature pain, you ask? My unwavering loyalty to a terrible office chair.
For more than 40 hours a week, I leaned over my laptop in a stiff wooden chair – the only surviving piece of furniture from my teenage bedroom that I hauled to college and used to accompany multiple desks through the after. Refurbished by my dad and I from a find on Craigslist, the once shiny white paint had peeled off where my body met its unforgiving frame, and by the end of the day I felt like my back was giving off more heat than a pizza oven. It was an ergonomic nightmare, but in the name of nostalgia, I persisted.
It wasn’t until I finally gave in and bought the Variable Balans Ergonomic Kneeling Chair that I kicked my safety chair – literally, with a “Free” taped to the back of an envelope. Three days later, my back pain started to evaporate, as did the old chair. Some things are really best left in the past.
What is a kneeling chair?
You guessed it: with a kneeling chair, you kneel instead of sit. Its namesake position is achieved with a reclined seat that moves your body forward, relying on two shin pads to keep you from literally falling on your face. Traditional kneeling chairs, like mine, have a wooden rocking base, and overall the carefully designed elements create ease of movement for readjustments.
Freedom of movement is the main idea behind the kneeling chair, and it’s even written in the name “variable balans”. Kneelers are expected to adjust their positioning until optimal balance and comfort are achieved, then move once that position becomes stiff.
“Every posture feels bad after long periods of time, including the kneeling posture,” says Norwegian designer Peter Opsvik, inventor of the kneeling chair, in an interview with Pure Contemporary. “For all my different chairs with the ‘balans’ brand, it was important to consider kneeling as one of the many postures that can be adopted in a chair.”
The different positions of the kneeling chair are made possible by its two shin cushions. You can choose to rest both shins on the pads, one foot, both feet, or neither while resting your feet on the floor; this way the chair is designed to adapt to your seating desires, and not the other way around as is the case with conventional chairs.
A common misconception about kneeling chairs is that all of your weight rests on your knees, which makes these chairs a no-no for people with knee problems. On the contrary, kneeling chairs still let your butt do most of the weight, but they also distribute some of the weight to your shins, not your knees. Don’t run away from the word “balance” either. You are not walking a tightrope; you just engage your core and back muscles a little more than you would in a regular chair.
What are the advantages of a kneeling chair?
With office workers now sitting up to 15 hours a day, we are collectively more sedentary than ever, causing health issues like obesity, heart disease, depression and even premature death. Admittedly, kneeling doesn’t pack the health punch of a full-fledged standing position, these chairs encourage your back, neck and shoulders to find their natural alignment, reducing spinal compression and relieving pain. lower back.
In addition to correcting posture and pressure, the forward shift of the kneeling chair creates a pelvic opening that promotes better breathing and a smoother digestive system. This means that oxygen and nutrients have an easier time doing their rounds to provide increased energy, alertness and focus.
As mentioned, the subtle balance of this chair requires your back, abs and shoulders to engage, gradually strengthening these muscles rather than allowing them to atrophy. Instead of supporting your body like a standard chair, the kneeling chair requires your body to support itself.
Discover the Variable Balans Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
First introduced by Norwegian designer Peter Opsvik at the 1979 Scandinavian Furniture Fair, Variable Balans took Scandinavian design to a new level by focusing on function first, not form.
Scandinavian design, famous for its minimalism (think Ikea), strips the bells and whistles from an object to reveal its simplest form. The first designers of this style were coined “functionalists”, but Opsvik argued that minimalism was far from functionality.
“When you design from form first, you often end up with pieces that have visual interest but serve no practical purpose and are often downright uncomfortable,” Opsvik tells Pure Contemporary. “My chairs are functional and intended for situations where we sit for long periods of time.”
To be truly functional, Opsvik begins its designs by considering the basic needs of the human body, letting the form fall into place; and if there’s one thing Opsvik is sure of, it’s that humans weren’t built for passivity.
What I love about the Variable Balans Kneeling Chair
I’m not kidding when I say this chair solved my back pain. A search on the web indicates that I am not alone. In addition to relieving my pain, I feel more alert throughout my workday thanks to my newly unlocked perfected posture and the ability to rock and readjust.
Although the form was secondary for Opsvik, I like the way the chair looks on my desk. It’s really Scandinavian – beautiful, simple and harmonious in my office-bedroom situation. It is neither bulky nor industrial. It has no wheels mocking my lack of space or scratching my floors and it can easily be stored under my desk after work hours.
It’s safe to say that every detail has been considered when building this chair, including the Allen key stored under the seat for later tightening needs.
What’s Not So Great About the Variable Balans Kneeling Chair
While other brands of kneeling chairs have adjustable settings, such as Office Star, DRAGONN and VIVO, the Variable Balans are not adjustable, which is not ideal for people with extra-long legs or heavier builds. .
Ringing in at between $379 and $449, this chair is a pretty penny, which leaves me even more disappointed at the sight of its forest nap fabric that only pills two months after use. In addition, the wooden rocker is not silent; prepare for loud squeaks to accompany your readjustments.
It should also be noted that the first few days of using this chair could be a shock to the system. Like any new position or movement for your body, there is an adjustment period before you settle into how it’s supposed to feel – my first few days on my knees created soreness around my computer headband, my shins and my thighs. At the beginning, it is recommended to accustom your body to this new way of sitting by taking intervals while kneeling, standing or (heaven forbid) sitting on an ordinary chair.
Varier Variable Balans Kneeling Chair: The Verdict
I am a fan of variable balances after my experience with this chair. Ergonomic, beautifully designed and engineered to suit your seating preferences, the kneeling chair is paradoxically both one-size-fits-all and custom-made.
Scandinavian design is all about the art of living well, a seemingly daunting challenge before I experienced the simple joys of unconventional sitting – and not having a bad back.
And if you’re considering getting a variable balance, don’t wait; score one at Amazon right now for 21% off.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on piano.io