Exploring Saddle Seats at Work and Their Impact on Posture
Work Wellness

Exploring Saddle Seats at Work and Their Impact on Posture

|Sep 30, 2023
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Most people's workday involves spending numerous hours sitting down and staring at a computer screen. When the body is forced to remain in the same position for extended periods, aches and pains become inevitable. At the same time, it becomes harder to keep the same position for the entire workday. This is where a chair with a saddle seat can help. 

There are a ton of office chair options available on the market today. Why is a saddle chair potentially one of the best office chairs for long hours?  

What Is a Saddle Seat?

An office saddle chair gets its name from the horse riding seat, and there's a good reason for this. Saddle chairs for the workplace are designed like those used in horse riding. Typically, they feature a smaller seating area pointed upward, like those in the Old West movies.  

Many of these saddle chairs are full chairs per se. Saddle stools are a widespread way for workers to sit in specific industries. Anyone who visits their dentist regularly will likely see them sitting in some form of saddle stool.

There are saddle chairs that feature a backrest. One of the main issues people want to point towards is that these chairs are not naturally “comfortable-looking." As it turns out, these chairs could be more helpful to the human body than any other option. 

Saddle seats may look different from one of the most comfortable chairs to spend many hours sitting on. Most people would naturally gravitate to the most expensive office chair made from fine leather with wide seating and a backrest area with armrests on the side. For many reasons, it makes perfect sense to look into saddle chairs as a better solution.

What Is a Saddle Seat?

Benefits & Impact of a Saddle Seat on Posture

The first thing that most people will notice when they sit on a saddle chair is that their posture will improve. When someone tries to sit on a completely flat seat, the body's natural tendency will likely be to slouch forward. This is especially true when sitting on a regular stool or when that person is not setting their back up against the backrest. 

Thanks to that elevated part at the front of the stool, the best saddle stools can always provide the correct posture. That small elevated part that's so characteristic of a saddle seat chair pushes the body upward, forcing the back to straighten out. Indeed, a person can still slouch forward and unnaturally bend their back while sitting on an ergonomic stool.

Saddle stools, though, could even make that position more uncomfortable to be in. Sitting up with the back perfectly straight will be the preferred position. It may take some getting used to the position. However, as previously mentioned, people in specific industries, such as the health sector, have few decent options. 

People who feel comfortable using these chairs report reduced back pain over time. This is likely because the spinal cord will spend more time adequately aligned during the workday.

Sitting in a chair, particularly one with no ergonomic elements, will usually cause the user's back to remain in unfavorable positions for long periods of the day. That will lead to back pain for that person 10 times out of 10.

Benefits & Impact of a Saddle Seat on Posture

Sitting for a Long Time Anywhere Makes the Body Start to Ache

A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine in the United States regarding different types of chairs concluded that sitting in a saddle chair for more extended periods caused less back pain. The study also concluded that regardless of the chair these subjects were sitting on, their body started to hurt after sitting for extended periods.   

People sitting in saddle chairs reported more pain in other parts of their body besides their back. Some of the limb pain they felt was not sustained as long as the back issues reported by other test subjects. It turns out that sitting down for long periods can be comparable to going to the gym in the sense that there's a good and bad type of pain. 

The results indicate that there are better ideas than sitting for a long time, regardless of where a person sits. These results can certainly help bolster the sales of sit/stand desks. When there's no choice but to sit down for extended periods, doing so in an ergonomic saddle chair may be the best option.

Sitting for a Long Time Anywhere Makes the Body Start to Ache

Saddle Stools vs. Saddle Chairs

The question of which to choose is one of the first dilemmas a person deciding to buy a saddle seat chair will encounter. The petite office chair that is a saddle stool can be a perfect option for doctors, as has been discussed, and musicians and people in other professions.

When looking for a small studio chair due to a lack of room in the workplace, a saddle stool can get the job done.

Some people may not feel as comfortable with a stool because of the lack of a backrest. Sitting up straight for long hours is better on the back than slouching, but it can also get tiresome. That's why looking for the best ergonomic chair with a saddle seat can make more sense.

It's not that one option will always be better than the other. The type of workplace the chair will be put in should be part of the decision. At the same time, although using a saddle chair can help reduce back pain, that doesn't mean the process has to be uncomfortable.

Part of the decision process is the materials that the chair is made out of, especially the actual seat. One of the main reasons saddle chairs have sometimes received a poor reputation is that the seats tended to be hard. People would complain that their backs felt much better, but now their bottoms hurt from sitting on such hard chairs.

Saddle Stools vs. Saddle Chairs

Why a Saddle Chair Can Work Better Than a Traditional Chair?

Apart from the benefits of a saddle chair in reducing back pain, they are much easier to move around. Added mobility will make them a better option for workplaces such as hospitals or dental offices. Also, having a chair with a massive backrest is sometimes not practical. 

Doctors, for example, won't benefit from having a chair that limits the movement that they can have in their arms. In some cases, it's also going to be necessary for them to be able to reach back and grab something. Those movements are going to be more comfortable in a saddle chair stool than they would be in a traditional office chair. 

Now, one of the things that's also important to point out is that not all stools are created equally. A big mistake is thinking that a flat stool will provide the same type of benefits that a saddle chair stool can. The saddle form on the stool allows the user to remain with their back straight when they're sitting there.   

The body naturally wants to curve forward when using a flat stool or a regular small chair. A flat stool can be worse on the back than a standard chair. With the extra back support that a chair provides and a minimal seating area, staying seated on these stools for a long time can be a real challenge.

Why a Saddle Chair Can Work Better Than a Traditional Chair?

All This Doesn’t Mean Saddle Chairs Are the Best Option in Any Work Environment

A saddle chair or even a saddle stool can bring many benefits. As has been discussed, there are specific workplaces where these can be a significant asset. Doctors and even musicians are the professions that benefit from smaller seating arrangements. 

What happens in other professions when there's not as much of a concern for space? In those situations, an argument must be made that getting the right ergonomic chair is preferred. However, there are still benefits to be had in using a saddle chair.     

With the saddle chair feature, what the user is going to get is an automatic way to align their back in the right way. Adding that to an ergonomic backrest could be a great combination to create a great ergonomic office chair. Making sure the seating area is a bit wider than it may be in a saddle stool could be the icing on the cake. 

A saddle chair could reduce back pain for people in any work environment. If this is an issue common amongst employees, it would be a good idea for the company to explore saddle chair solutions. They are sometimes not considered the comfort option, and that negative reputation hurts saddle chairs a bit.

All This Doesn’t Mean Saddle Chairs Are the Best Option

How to Choose a Saddle Seat That Aligns With Individual Ergonomic Needs and Preferences

Regarding saddle seats, there's no shame in wanting the best of both worlds. One of the reasons people shied away from them for some time was that they were usually chairs from hard materials. One of the first tips for finding the right saddle chair is understanding what seat cushion will work best. 

Saddle Chairs Can Have Ergonomic Seat Cushions

The big boom for saddle chairs came when they started making them with ergonomic seat cushions. That means that users can lose the excuse of saying that saddle chairs are hard, particularly on their bottoms. 

Ensuring that the seat cushion features suitable materials is essential. The seat doesn't just need to be soft. It needs to be made from materials that won't get too hot. Sitting in a poor-quality leather or plastic chair on a hot day is awful. 

Avoiding materials that can get itchy is another great tip that is often overlooked. One of the biggest challenges to picking the right seat cushion is understanding what it will be like to sit there for 8 hours before making the purchase. Going with familiar materials can help avoid unforeseen disappointments.

Saddle Chairs Can Have Ergonomic Seat Cushions

Extra Support on the Lower Back

Another common element in these chairs is a small backrest that only covers part of the lower back. This can be great to ensure that keeping good posture while sitting on the chair isn't as exhausting. There is a drawback, though: the backrest needs to be adjusted perfectly to the height of the person sitting on the chair. 

One of the biggest mistakes with these chairs is not adjusting them perfectly to the person sitting on them. This could cause a lot of discomfort because the backrest could be covering too little or even too much of the lower back in some cases.

Extra Support on the Lower Back

Exploring Broader Seating Options in Stools

People usually don't want to sit on stools for two reasons: they either feel like their feet don't fit or the stool is too narrow. The best way to solve the feet issue is to make sure that the stool's height can be adjusted. With any type of chair, thinking that there are one-size-fits-all options that will be comfortable for 8 hours straight is unrealistic. 

There's also a sense that stools tend to be too narrow for some people to sit on. The struggle can be very real for some people. If that's the case, there's no shame in looking for broader, more comfortable options.   

Exploring Saddle Seats at Work and Their Impact on Posture!

Saddle seats are the best type of seating option for people who are trying to improve their posture. Entire generations of people who have had to work their whole careers sitting on chairs that didn't benefit their bodies at all learned that the hard way. 

Today's challenge revolves more around adding a sense of comfort to the types of chairs already known to provide health benefits. There are still people out there who are reluctant to use these types of chairs because they feel there's not a good balance of health benefits and comfort. 

Luckily, the brands that are producing saddle seats these days are genuinely making an effort to change that. 

Hopefully, this will lead to more people adopting saddle chairs as their go-to office seating options. The health benefits that this can bring for those people are evident.

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