Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Are Recliners Bad For You?

Also Known As: armchair, rocker



Short answer

Recliners can be helpful for back pain, swollen legs and feet and general muscle pain. The debate comes with how long someone should be sedentary and sit for prolonged periods of time. Prolonged sitting can lead to potentially more serious health issues.



Long answer

Recliners offer several health benefits, especially for individuals suffering from back pain.  Eight out of ten Americans will suffer from back pain during their lifetime. 54% of these individuals sit upright at the work place.  When a recliner is used it takes pressure off the spine and the muscles that contract the back.  Sitting upright strains the spine and strains the muscles.  Recliners often relieve achy arthritic joints.  Recliners can help swollen and stiff joints by increasing circulation which helps with inflammation.

Pregnant women can benefit from a recliner.  Common complaints include swollen ankles, tight fingers and achy joints. The angle of the recliner takes the weight off of the front carriage of her body and helps to line up her center of gravity. The recliner also helps with the aches, pains and the swelling.

Many individuals use recliners as a way to relieve stress. Recliners are comfortable and can help with meditation and relaxation.  Stress can exacerbate a wide range of health challenges.  Stress can trigger headaches, depression, anxiety, heart problems and breathing issues. Stress can make us feel bad emotionally and physically.  Stress relief helps mood, clarity and cognitive function.

Standing for long periods and walking upright puts pressure on the veins in the leg resulting in varicose veins and spider veins. These large swollen varicose veins occur mainly in legs and feet. Recliners lift the feet and take the pressure off the veins.  Recliners will also help with swelling of the legs and feet known as edema. 

Recliners help circulation and assist in getting more blood to the heart. This increase in blood flow and oxygenation helps with arterial inflammation. Massage recliners are even more successful in helping stimulate blood flow.  Recliners are also helpful with snoring and sleep apnea.

While recliners have health benefits, being sedentary for prolonged periods of time may have opposite health effects. Sedentary individuals can start to gain weight and put themselves at risk for metabolic syndrome. This epidemic syndrome is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids and type 2 diabetes.  As the American Heart Association recommends,”sit less and move more.” If you are reclining for 30 minutes or longer it is time to move around to continue stimulating metabolism and the cardiovascular system. 

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • metabolic syndrome

Big are recliners bad for you.


  • helps back pain
  • helps achy and swollen joints
  • helps with the aches and pains of pregnancy
  • relieves stress
  • increases blood flow to heart
  • can help with inflammation
  • can help sleep apnea and snoring
  • helps with varicose veins
  • helps leg edema

Recliners (what is this?)

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Written by Kathan Natrajan | 03-21-2018

Written by Kathan Natrajan
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