Sitting for long periods of time hassuch as chronic pain, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or varicose veins. Plus, it leaves you at an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Not all of us can help how much we sit, especially with long work and school hours. However, using a foam seat cushion can maximize your comfort and reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Foam seat cushions have an ergonomic design to keep you comfortable and supported, so you can work efficiently.
When you’re sitting for long periods with poor posture, you can develop chronic spinal health conditions. A foam seat cushion makes it easier to sit and helps you naturally develop a good posture.
Reduces Stress on Hips, Spine, and Tailbone
One of the most important reasons to use a foam seat cushion is to ease the pressure on the coccyx (tailbone) and relieve lower back pain. When sitting down, your upper body puts pressure on your buttocks, hips, tailbone, and spine, causing tension and leaving them stiff by the end of the day.
Extended pressure on your lower body also causes fatigue and may eventually develop into joint and spine conditions, such as herniated discs. These conditions negatively impact your quality of life. A foam seat cushion properly distributes your body weight, preventing pressure build-up and pain in the hips, lumbar region, and tailbone.
Sitting for extending periods slows down blood flow and can result in reduced metabolic function and limited oxygen transfer to the tissues and muscles. Also, with less oxygen, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your body, so you’re left feeling fatigued and in pain.
Using a foam seat cushion minimizes the pressure on your lower body, increasing the blood circulation to the pelvis, lower back, and legs.
Supports Digestive System
Sitting all day compresses the abdominal cavity and negatively impacts your digestive system, leading to constipation, heartburn, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). While a healthy diet and exercise can improve symptoms of IBS and heartburn, reducing the pressure on your abdomen minimizes the stress on your body and properly supports your body weight.
If you’re sitting all day, using a foam seat cushion prevents leg, back, and neck stiffness and discomfort from being seated. Memory foam seat cushions cradle your body and provide healthy weight distribution for extra comfort and minimal pressure build-up.
Plus, many ergonomic seat cushions have a non-slip rubber bottom, so you won’t have to deal with the annoyance of constantly moving the cushion back into place.
Raises Energy Levels
With better posture, blood circulation, and minimal bodily pain, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day. Also, when you’re less distracted by discomfort, it’s easier to focus on the tasks at hand and be productive.
What to Look For in A Foam Seat Cushion
Not all foam seat cushions are made equally, so look at the cushion’s qualities, such as the type of foam used, supportiveness, breathability, and cover.
Types of Foam
There are many types of foams used in seat cushions. We recommend a high-density foam since it’s long-lasting, breathable, and will support you throughout the day.
Some high-quality foams include latex, memory foam, plant-based foam, and gel-infused foam. Each of these foams is excellent for relieving pressure and conforming to the body while also being comfortable to sit on for hours at a time.
An ergonomic seat cushion maximizes comfort and minimizes negative health effects when seated. A supportive foam cushion should provide healthy back support without being too firm or soft.
Some foam seat cushions have laser cut-outs and shapes to further reduce pressure points and lumbar spine pain. Other cushions have a U-shape to support your body without aggravating your tailbone and also ease any pain if you have a specific medical condition—namely a herniated disc or sciatica.
Since you may be using your seat cushion for 8 or more hours a day, be sure to choose one capable of withstanding extended use. High-density foams are highly durable and won’t get squished under your weight, so they’ll provide the proper support for your body throughout the day.
A breathable seat cushion keeps your buttocks cool, soothes pain, and is more comfortable overall. Cushions with materials such as cool gel inserts and gel-infused foam are especially good for extra breathability and to prevent you from getting hot. Honeycomb or waffle-shaped foam is another good choice since the cut-outs allow for extra airflow, keeping you cool while seated.
Your seat cushion’s cover material affects its breathability and maintenance needs. Look for a removable cover so you can easily toss it in the washing machine. Seat covers with a non-slip bottom are especially useful so you don’t have to worry about the cushion moving around and distracting you while you’re working.
Should your knees be above or below your hips when sitting?
When seated, your knees should be level with your hips at a 90-degree angle, if not slightly higher. This way, there’s minimal stress on the hips and lower back while you’re sitting down.
Can you use a pillow as a seat cushion?
It’s not a good idea to use a pillow as a seat cushion since pillows and cushions work differently. Sitting on soft pillows, in particular, causes your buttocks to sink and tilts your pelvis improperly. When your pelvis isn’t neutral, it’s difficult for your body to sit upright and be comfortable, leading to lumbar spine pain and achiness.
Is it okay to sit cross-legged on a chair?
Sitting cross-legged puts extra weight and pressure on your intervertebral discs and spine. Also, people usually have worsened posture when cross-legged, aggravating the lower back and spinal discs. It’s best to sit upright on a chair with your feet flat on the floor instead of sitting cross-legged.
Is lying down healthier than sitting?
Prolonged periods of both sitting and lying down aren’t good for your health since staying in one position reduces your range of movement, flexibility, and strength. Lying down might be slightly better for your back than sitting, but it’s better to move around as much as possible rather than sitting or lying down. Also, you can’t lie down at work or school, so it’s not a good alternative to sitting anyway.
How can I sit less at work?
Although a foam seat cushion minimizes some of the side effects of sitting, reducing your seated time can further prevent pain and discomfort.
Sit less at work by setting an alarm for every hour or so to get up, stretch, and walk around the office. Also, drink plenty of water, as it forces you to get up frequently to refill your bottle and use the restroom. During breaks and lunch, take a short walk and don’t eat at your desk. You can also stand during team meetings or walk with coworkers during one-on-one meetings.
Upgrade to a Foam Seat Cushion
Although foam seat cushions won’t suddenly fix bad posture and chronic pain, they put you in a better position to improve your health issues. Also, since foam seat cushions are easily transportable, you can use them everywhere, such as when you’re sitting in a car, airplane, couch, or dining chair.
Even with a seat cushion, do your best not to sit for too long. Ideally, stand up every 20 to 30 minutes, stretch, and walk around, to further improve your health. You might also consider upgrading to a height-adjustable desk or desk converter so you can easily switch between sitting and standing.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.