Recliners have been a popular choice for comfortable seating since their invention in the early 20th century. They are often associated with relaxation and leisure time, and can be found in many living rooms, home theaters, and even office spaces. However, with the growing concern over sedentary lifestyles and the health risks of extended sitting, some people have begun to question whether recliners are actually good for our health.
While recliners do offer some benefits, such as improved blood circulation and relief from back pain, they also come with risks that should be considered before making them a regular part of your routine. So let’s take a closer look at what makes recliners so popular, and whether they might be harming your health in ways you haven’t considered before.
Read also: how much weight can a recliner take
Benefits of Sitting in a Recliner.
Comfort and Relaxation.
After a long day, there’s nothing quite like sinking into a recliner and unwinding. Recliners are designed for maximum comfort, with plush cushions and adjustable footrests that allow you to fully relax.
This can be especially beneficial for people who suffer from anxiety or stress-related conditions. By reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation, a recliner can help you feel more calm and centered.
Improved Blood Circulation.
Sitting in a recliner can also have positive effects on your circulation. When you sit with your feet elevated, it helps to promote blood flow back to your heart and reduce swelling in your legs and ankles. This can be particularly beneficial for people who spend a lot of time sitting or standing throughout the day, as it can help prevent the development of varicose veins or other circulatory issues.
Reduced Pressure on the Spine.
One of the most significant benefits of sitting in a recliner is that it reduces pressure on your spine. Unlike traditional chairs, which force you to sit upright, recliners allow you to adjust the angle of your backrest to find the most comfortable position for you. By doing so, you can alleviate pressure on your lower back and neck, which can be especially beneficial for people who suffer from chronic pain conditions like arthritis or sciatica.
Relief from Back Pain.
If you suffer from back pain, sitting in a recliner may provide some much-needed relief. By allowing you to shift your weight around and take pressure off painful areas of your spine, a recliner can help ease discomfort and promote healing over time. Additionally, many modern recliners come equipped with massage features that target specific areas of tension or discomfort in the body – further enhancing their pain-relieving benefits.
Risks of Sitting in a Recliner.
Increased Risk of Obesity.
While sitting in a recliner may be comfortable, it can also lead to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity. When you sit for long periods, your metabolic rate slows down, which can cause you to burn fewer calories than when you’re standing or moving around.
Additionally, people tend to snack more while sitting in a recliner because they’re relaxed and have easy access to food. One study found that people who sit for more than six hours per day are 30% more likely to be overweight or obese than those who sit for three hours or less.
This is why it’s important to balance your time spent sitting with physical activity and healthy eating habits. If you must sit in a recliner for extended periods, try keeping healthy snacks nearby and taking breaks every hour or so to stand up and stretch.
Poor Posture and Muscle Weakness.
Another risk associated with sitting in a recliner is poor posture and muscle weakness. When you’re reclined, your body naturally slouches into the chair instead of maintaining an upright posture like when sitting at a desk or table.
This can lead to muscle imbalances, particularly in the back and core muscles. Over time, these imbalances can cause chronic pain and discomfort as well as poor posture even when not seated.
To combat this risk, it’s important to choose a reclining chair that provides proper support for your spine and maintains good alignment between your head, neck, spine, hips, knees, and ankles. Additionally, incorporating strength-training exercises into your routine can help strengthen the muscles needed for good posture and prevent muscle weakness from prolonged sitting.
Risk of Blood Clots.
Sitting in any position for long periods puts you at risk for blood clots due to decreased blood flow and circulation. This risk is heightened in recliners because your legs are elevated above your heart, which can exacerbate the problem.
Blood clots can be serious and potentially life-threatening if not treated promptly. To reduce this risk, it’s important to take breaks from sitting every hour or so to stand up and stretch.
Additionally, you can perform simple exercises such as calf raises, ankle rolls, or leg lifts while seated to improve circulation in your legs. If you’re at a high risk for blood clots due to a medical condition or history of blood clots, it may be best to avoid recliners altogether and opt for a more supportive chair that allows you to maintain good circulation.
Tips for Healthy Reclining.
Choosing the right recliner with proper support.
When it comes to choosing a recliner, it’s important to consider how your body will be supported while sitting. Look for a recliner that has good lumbar support, which will help maintain the natural curve of your spine.
A well-designed recliner should also allow you to adjust the angle of the seat and backrest independently. This will allow you to find your most comfortable position and avoid putting too much pressure on any one part of your body.
In addition to lumbar support, you should also look for a recliner with good head and neck support. Many new models now feature built-in headrests that can be adjusted to fit your specific height and neck shape.
If possible, try out several different models in person before making a purchase. This will help you find the best option for your specific needs.
Taking breaks and stretching regularly.
Even if you’ve found the perfect recliner with all the necessary support, it’s still important to take regular breaks from sitting and stretch out your muscles. Every hour or so, stand up and walk around for a few minutes.
Stretch out your legs by doing some simple exercises like lunges or squats. You can also do some gentle stretches while still in your recliner.
For example, try extending one leg out straight while keeping the other bent at the knee and then switching sides after holding this position for 10-15 seconds on each side. This will help keep blood flowing throughout your body and prevent stiffness from setting in.
Maintaining good posture while sitting.
It’s important to maintain good posture while sitting in a recliner. This means keeping your feet flat on the floor (or footrest) at all times and avoiding crossing your legs or slumping forward. Place a pillow behind your lower back if needed to help maintain the natural curve of your spine.
Additionally, keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid hunching them forward. This will help prevent tension in your neck and upper back.
If you’re someone who tends to fall asleep while reclining, try placing a small pillow under your chin to keep your head from dropping forward and straining your neck. By following these tips, you can enjoy the comfort and relaxation of reclining without sacrificing your overall health and well-being.
So, is it healthy to sit in a recliner? The answer is not a simple yes or no.
There are definitely benefits to reclining, such as improved blood circulation, reduced pressure on the spine, and relief from back pain. However, there are also risks associated with prolonged sitting in any type of chair, including an increased risk of obesity, poor posture and muscle weakness, and the risk of blood clots.
Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance between comfort and health when it comes to reclining. Choose a recliner that provides proper support for your body and take breaks to stretch regularly.
Maintaining good posture while sitting can also help mitigate some of the risks associated with prolonged sitting. Reclining can be healthy as long as it’s done in moderation and with attention paid to maintaining overall health.
Ultimately, the verdict on whether or not it’s healthy to sit in a recliner depends on how you use it. If you’re using your recliner as a place to relax for short periods after strenuous activities or after work then there is nothing wrong with that.
However, if you use your recliner as your primary place for activities like reading books or watching TV for hours at stretch every day then there could be some health concerns. The key takeaway here is that moderation is key; if you take regular breaks from sitting and maintain good posture while seated then there is no reason why using a recliner shouldn’t be part of your relaxation routine.
An Optimistic Spin.
We can say that the world has evolved so much that we have comfortable furniture available even during these times when we spend most of our time indoors due to various reasons such as work from home culture or pandemics. Recliners are one of the most comfortable and desired pieces of furniture that can help us relax and unwind.
They offer many benefits but just like anything else, excessive use of recliners can be harmful to our health. With proper usage and moderation, recliners can help us lead a healthy and comfortable lifestyle.
Author: Saleh Ibrahim