little baby girl sitting on a bean bag chair and drinking tea

Is Sitting On A Bean Bag Healthy?

Bean Bags are incredibly comfortable. If you sit down with a good book, or with your laptop for work, you could find hours have passed before you realise. So the question is whether sitting on a bean bag is healthy – in particular, is it good for your back?

One of the key features of a bean bag is that you can change your posture with ease. Unlike other furniture, you can shape the bean bag to make it comfortable for you. This comfort means you could end up sitting for a long time, which is not great for your health. As human’s we are made to move, and sitting for prolonged periods, whether in a bean bag or other chair is not recommended. If you do have to sit for a long time, take a break every now and again – get up and spend 5 minutes walking around.

Whilst you are sitting, try to maintain good posture. Keeping upright, reduces the pressure on your spine – and reduces the chances of developing back problems over time. Good posture starts from your head. Try to keep your head up, looking forward at eye-level. If you have a book, try to hold it off your lap, and for laptops, consider getting a ‘lap desk’ or laptop stand that raises the height of your laptop to keep your head up as much as possible. With your head up, relax your shoulders and try to avoid slumping forward. Allow your shoulders to drop back and down, nice and relaxed. And keep your core engaged. You can do this easily by imagining a strong tied to your belly button that goes through your body, and someone is lightly pulling on it from behind you. This will engage your core muscles and help keep your posture strong.

Check your posture every few minutes to make sure you haven’t hunched over again. Slouching or leaning forward will put pressure on the spine, so many people look for chairs that have an ergonomic design to help them keep upright. These chairs match the curvature of your back, and support all of your back. Most of them have hard backs though, and it is still possible to slouch. So having a chair that matches the contours of your back is important. This is where bean bags excel. They fit around your body, providing contoured support. And our chair bean bags have a nice high back, which provides this contoured support for your back, neck and shoulders. They allow you to adjust the angle at which you sit. Some designs do not have a high back and so your back is not supported, and you will end up slouching. So look for bean bags with a high back when shopping for a new bean bag.

DirtiHari Bean Bag cushion
Whilst this picture might look relaxing, prolonged sitting without proper support for your back, or with poor posture will cause back problems regardless of what you are sitting on.

Bean bags can also allow you to lie down (such as our single & double bean bag loungers). These still provide contoured support for your back, and allow you to position yourself for comfort, which in turn is likely to be supportive of your back.

Whether you go for a bean bag chair or lounger, you also need to consider what you fill it with. Of course you can use the usual beans, but shredded memory foam is a good choice, as it allows the bean bag to shape itself to support your body. And consider filling the bean bag relatively full. Whilst less beans or foam may be very comfortable, it will not support your back as much. So make sure you fill it to the recommended size, making sure not to overfill as it puts pressure on the seams. Having a full bean bag will provide the ergonomic support you need to reduce any stress on your back.

We know getting in and out of a bean bag can be a challenge! Particularly if you already have a sore back, or your knees are just not working as well as they used to. If this describes you, then when you are getting into a bean bag, it’s important not to drop into it. Try kneeling next to it, and ‘rolling’ yourself on to it. Use your arms to support you as you do so. And when getting out, the opposite is true. Just slowly roll to the side, off the bean bag and into a position where you are on ‘all fours’. From this position, keep your back straight as you stand up.

In summary, bean bags provide excellent contoured support for your back. But the most important factors are that you do not sit continually for a long time. Most smart watches these days provide reminders to get up and move on a regular basis. If you don’t have a smart watch, set an alarm to make sure you get up. And whilst you are sitting, try to maintain good posture – head up, shoulders back and down (relaxed), and core engaged. These tips are important no matter what you are sitting on.

The benefit of bean bags are that you can move them where-ever you need to sit! So you can get contoured back support inside and outside your home.

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