Modern Office Furniture

How to be comfortable instead of sedentary with an ergonomic office chair

Autonomous Autonomous | Oct 5, 2017
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There has been a lot of hype about the problematics of sedentary working. The phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’ is enough to make anyone get on their feet and never want to sit down again. But sedentary working is not about never sitting down or never being comfortable. On the contrary, people who try standing will find that they are more comfortable in their own skin. We all know that the body isn’t meant to be seated for 8 hours a day, nor is it meant to be standing for prolonged periods. What our bodies need is a balance between the two and to find that balance we need the right support you when we’re seated, that’s where an ergonomic office chair comes in.

How to be comfortable instead of sedentary with an ergonomic office chair

So what is so problematic about being sedentary? Sedentary working means working whilst ‘involving little exercise or physical activity.’ Whilst being sedentary can feel comfortable at the moment, it can lead to a wealth of health concerns that will make us less comfortable in our bodies, chairs, and offices in the long run. Studies have shown several health concerns that can affect your productivity and well-being. Being sedentary for hours decreases circulation and blood flow to hinder your focus and concentration. Being sedentary can cause many aches and pains in our back, neck and elsewhere. Whilst inactivity, of course, increases chances of heart disease and diabetes.

The perils of sedentary working come when we are slumped in our chairs for too long. Picture someone in an office and you might already have the image of a sedentary worker; someone slumped over their desk, shoulders curved, back arched - maybe they look tired, drained of energy.

A mixture of standing and using an ergonomic office chair can do wonders for your health and mental well-being. Even if you are going to be seated for only a few hours a day at a time between bouts of standing, you still need to have the right support to meet your body and that means tailored support. Equally, even when standing away from our chairs we need to be aware of how we are using our bodies and other ergonomic products, such as an anti- fatigue mats or monitor arms can help to ensure we are standing with ergonomics in mind. Beyond that, incorporating small exercises and regular breaks into your day can do even more to help you keep comfortable without being sedentary.

Ergonomics is about having support which works with your body. The word ergonomic has become increasingly popular in recent years. You may already have an ergonomic keyboard, mouse-pads or screens, or even an office chair. Defined as ‘relating to or designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment,’ an ergonomic work environment and office chair should be comfortable without being sedentary to catalyze your productivity. As we grow culturally more and more aware of the importance of well being in the office, it is no surprise that the word has become increasingly common in our everyday vocabulary.

How to be comfortable instead of sedentary with an ergonomic office chair - Image 2

With our ErgoChair 2, you can find sitting positions that allow you to be comfortable without being sedentary. The Ergo Chair 2 ergonomic office chair is the most adjustable ergonomic office chair yet. It means you can get great support that is tailored to you. With our ergonomic office chair you can adjust at every angle. Our unique tilt tension mechanism allows you to adapt the recline of the chair back and the position of the chair seat. The Ergo Chair 2 ergonomic office chair also has built in adjustable lumbar support which sits at the curve of your back for support where you need it most. Whilst the armrests and headrests are also adjustable. It is an ergonomic office chair that covers all the bases.

Of course, just having the ergonomic office chair isn’t enough, we need to be aware of best practices when using them. If you have a customisable ergonomic office chair that hasn’t been customised - unfortunately it’s basically still an office chair. It also means being aware of your levels of comfort you’re sitting. Are you comfortable and yet still slouching in your chair? There’s a good chance you are still working in a sedentary state. If you are using an ergonomic office chair correctly you should be comfortable whilst engaging your muscles.

So what can we do to ensure we are using our ergonomic office chairs effectively and keeping comfortable whilst steering clear of the sedentary? By being aware of what kind of support you need throughout the day and engaging all the features of your ergonomic office chair accordingly.

When you arrive at the office in the morning you may want to get stuck into some focused work. In this case, your ergonomic office chair should be erect, the seat should be straight, the headrest should be cradling your head and the lumbar support should be supporting your lower back in a seated position. In this position the ergonomic office chair can support your body to promote good posture and encourage you to engage your core muscles to support your body. If you take the time to ensure everything is in place and you have the correct settings on your ergonomic office chair before you get to work, you’re likely to get off to a good start. Sitting in the correct posture with your ergonomic office chair allows for comfort without being sedentary and can do wonders for your productivity.

How to be comfortable instead of sedentary with an ergonomic office chair - Image 3

However, this may not be the correct posture for you for the entire day and as the afternoon creeps on many of us need a break from focused work. Much like we are learning to adjust our lights for evening sessions so as not to disrupt our body clock, we can also learn to adjust our ergonomic office chairs as we enter enter into different phases of the day.

If you are working on a project with a colleague or have just asked them over to your desk to discuss an idea or problem, it’s important to adjust your ergonomic office chair from the most up-right position to allow you more flexibility and movement. Equally, if you need a moment to rest while you ponder on an issue, you can release the lumbar support, push the seat back into a reclined position and let the headrest fall back. Stargazing for 30 minutes isn’t going to do your body or your productivity any harm.

In fact, you can boost your productivity and focus by taking breaks for small exercises for your arms, legs, mind and much more. Whatever your level of commitment or confidence working out in the office, you can do small activities to help your body. For example, if you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself, you can try rotating your wrists and ankles, wiggling your toes or stretching your arms.  Alternatively, if you want to stay in your ergonomic chair, then you can try doing gentle push ups from the arm rests or balancing a pencil between your shoulder blades to stretch out your back. If you are feeling a little bolder you could even go for jumping jacks and push ups on the office floor. Any spare minutes you can spare for small bouts of activity is a step towards comfort in the long term and step away from the sedentary.

It’s important to realise that being sedentary is not about having a break or relaxing your body, it’s about prolonged periods of inactivity - this is where the health risks lie. In fact, working in a state that puts too much strain on your body can be equally damaging to your overall health. So there is no need to fear the chair or sitting in it, particularly if you have an ergonomic office chair!

Although by definition, the word ergonomic means ‘designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment’ for Autonomous, achieving efficiency and comfort in an office chair is all about adaptability. An effective ergonomic office chair needs to move with you as you change workflows and positions throughout the day. This is also the crux what it means to be comfortable opposed to sedentary.

So if you have a normal office chair, maybe it’s time to make the switch to an ergonomic office chair. Or if you have an ergonomic office chair, it’s time to check that you are using it as an ergonomic office chair and fully exploiting all the ways in which it can support you throughout your working day. Check your settings in the morning, adjust those settings throughout the day and explore the full range of settings that make the office chair truly ergonomic and find comfort without slipping into the sedentary.

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