If you are like many of the people in Australia, you probably consider large bean bags and other similar furniture as nostalgic throwbacks to a past era.
Today, these versatile products are making a comeback and are even being tagged as the furniture of the future because of their several potential health benefits.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 1.8 million Australian residents suffer from back problems, and many of these problems are caused by poor posture, which can be improved with the proper use of bean bags.
The Problem of Poor Posture
For several years, the State Government of Victoria has been educating residents on the hazards of poor posture through its Better Health Channel. This website states that young children move easily and effortlessly because they begin life with good posture; however, bad habits that cause muscle tension and fatigue are developed over the years.
When you experience unpleasant sensations in your back, your body’s immediate response is to slouch or remain inactive in order to alleviate the pressure. This behaviour leads to poor posture, which can cause a number of other problems.
Poor posture can cause one or more symptoms that range from mild to severe. Some of these symptoms are basic and generalized, while others are severe and more specific. General symptoms of poor posture include the following:
- Body pain
- Unnatural head positioning
- Rounded shoulders
- Overly bent knees while walking and standing
Some of the more serious symptoms of poor posture are as follows:
- Severe back pain
- Degenerating joints
- Dysfunctional spine
These symptoms are the results of excessive strain in the muscles. Posture is naturally maintained by static muscles inside the body. Another group of muscles, called the phasic muscles, are to be used only for specific body movements because they tire easily, but they are forced into action to support the body when sitting or standing.
When the phasic muscles are repeatedly used for body support, the static muscles begin to atrophy, which causes the phasic muscles to work even harder. Unless something is done to improve posture, the symptoms only become worse.
Improving and Maintaining Good Posture
Good posture should be effortless, and many people are able to practice it without any trouble. It is, however, very easy to fall back into bad habits. To improve and maintain good posture, the Better Health Channel recommends the following:
- Perform stretching exercises
- Do regular exercise
- Keep a straight back when lifting
- Avoid overly soft furniture
- Support the back when sitting
- Use ergonomic furniture
- Use a supportive mattress and pillow
Surprisingly, more than half of these recommendations involve furniture, and large bean bags fit the bill as an all-around solution to improving and maintaining good posture. If bean bags or other supportive and ergonomic furniture is not employed, it may become necessary to see a chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist to correct the problem.
Bean Bags for Poor Posture
Today, the sale of large bean bags as furniture is driven by three factors: affordability, aesthetics and health. More people are beginning to recognize the importance of ergonomic furniture that supports the natural curves and movements of the body. In fact, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission has a dedicated Ergonomics Unit to promote the use of supportive furniture and reduce injuries in the workplace.
Furniture that is too hard is uncomfortable, and it does not conform to the body while furniture that is too soft, is not supportive at all, which causes the muscles to take action unnecessarily. Bean bags provide the perfect middle ground. The filling in bean bags is extremely supportive, but it also makes the furniture malleable enough to conform exactly to the shapes and configurations required for good posture. Aside from being extremely comfortable, bean bags are also good for your health.
Another benefit of bean bags is their versatility. They can be used in several different ways for specific reasons. A quality bean bag can take the place of all the following pieces of furniture and furniture accessories:
- Comfort chairs
- Office chairs
These types of furniture and sleeping accessories are crucial in improving and maintaining good posture because they allow both the static and phasic muscles to relax. In addition, bean bags also have several other benefits that make them worthy of consideration when replacing old, uncomfortable or unhealthy furniture. Bean bags are affordable and are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colours to match any home’s décor.
Author: Geoff Brand
Marketing Manager at Bean Bags R Us Australia.