Office work often involves sitting for six to seven hours a day. This is not a natural position because your body is meant to stand! When you work in front of a computer all day long, it is not uncommon to experience back pain: a sedentary lifestyle is a direct cause.
An ergonomic chair should allow you to move smoothly with a minimum of effort. The right adjustments should enable you to achieve a comfortable and optimal working position to reduce fatigue and injuries while promoting blood circulation and maintaining a healthy posture.
The sitting position is undoubtedly a major cause of back pain in the United States. However, the standing position is not compatible with all jobs. If sitting is unavoidable, it is important to limit the damage and invest in an ergonomic chair.
A good office chair can even prevent fatigue and helps you stay more positive and productive during long working hours. But what type of ergonomic office chair is best for you? Below are some things to look for when buying the right ergonomic chair.
What Is an Ergonomic Chair?
Obtaining the best ergonomic chair is a common issue, particularly among people who need to purchase new equipment to make their workstation safer and more comfortable.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to fit a wide range of people, but they are not necessarily suitable for everyone. For example, the chair may be too high and the armrests too far apart for a person of short height.
Also, these chairs may not be appropriate for certain tasks or workstation layouts. A chair is ergonomic only when adapted to the worker's size (dimensions), workstation, and duties. You can find the right chair, but it requires time and energy.
The Benefits of Ergonomic Chairs
Ergonomic chairs are mainly known to prevent and soothe back pain.
• Perfect alignment of the spine
• Back and stomach muscles are strengthened
• It relieves back pain
• Blood circulation is improved
Why Should You Buy an Ergonomic Office Chair?
Buying an office chair may seem simple, but depending on your needs and your profession, many models can suit you better than other types. In the company, they are essential and contribute to the well-being of the employees. Before opting for an ergonomic office chair, in mesh or leather, you should first choose your chair according to the working conditions to avoid back pain in compliance with health standards. That said, these criteria are completely compatible with purely aesthetic considerations and in line with the decoration of your workspaces. A few simple questions can help you determine your expectations:
1. What Type of Activity?
This should affect the type of office chair that is best suited for your job. When working in an office or a laboratory, the selection criteria may necessarily be different, and you should consider the working environment. The height of the work surface, hygiene, and safety conditions should depend on your activity. Similarly, your physical needs can also determine your office chair choice: height, weight, back pain, sweat, joint pain, etc. Finally, whether your activity is static or semi-static, whether it requires strength or not, different solutions are available.
2. What Is the Main Function?
For a static activity, the choice of a chair is essential. The dimensions of the workstation and the work surface's height are crucial in your selection, although they can be adapted. For a semi-static activity, you should opt for an ergonomic sit to stand desk. It is highly recommended to change your posture constantly.
3. How Often Should It Be Used?
Standard office chairs can do the job for occasional use, although they are often known to have lower quality and a shorter life span. Therefore, you can choose your office chair according to your needs.
For daily use, you have to consider the comfort aspect, which can take you to the next level with an adjustable seat and very useful in adapting to your tasks. Many options are possible: armrests (preferably adjustable), headrest, ergonomic chair with footrest, seat with casters, etc. These office chairs have the advantage of being well-made, durable, and convenient.
What to Look for in an Ergonomic Chair? - 10 Important Features
In today's working environment, choosing a chair that meets your needs is essential for your productivity. Not every chair named ergonomic has all the adjustment characteristics necessary to truly be ergonomic. This ergonomic chair checklist helps you make a wise decision.
1. An Office Chair With a Full Backrest
Backrests are essential components of ergonomic chairs. The best ergonomic chair with backrest can be adjusted in several positions and include lumbar support. The best backrests are generally 12 to 19 inches wide and should support and follow your spine's natural curve. The spine has an inward curve, and if the chair you use does not keep the curve of your spine properly, you may often end up with a hunched back, which can cause injury over time. According to BCS Pain Clinic, not only does this cause back pain; it makes it difficult for a person to concentrate and therefore decreases productivity over time.
2. Adjustable Seats
Adjustability is the next thing you should consider when buying an ergonomic office chair. According to the University of Pittsburgh, office chairs should be bent down to hit the back of your knees. There should be two to four inches between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat. A seat should be 17 to 20 inches wide and deep enough so that your back rests comfortably on the backrest while leaving those few inches between the edge of the seat and your knees. Also, the seat's inclination should be fully adjustable so that you can adapt it to your personal needs. Make sure the chair seat material is sufficiently padded to be suitable for a long day.
The seat height allows you to adopt a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor. The height-adjustable armrests help you adopt a good arm position. The swivel backrest adjusts to your body shape for ideal comfort. Some office chairs also offer lumbar or cervical adjustment systems. This is particularly useful for people who suffer from back pain, as long as they are properly adjusted according to the manufacturer's instructions.
3. The 90-degree Angles
The best thing to do when shopping for an office chair is, of course, to sit in it. While doing so, make sure the angles of your hips and knees are comfortably at 90 degrees. If these angles are more obtuse or acute, it means that the chair is too big or too short for you, and you may be putting pressure on your spinal discs. However, one way to solve this problem is to buy a chair with an adjustable seat height ranging from 16 to 21 inches off the floor. Your feet should rest flat on the floor.
What to consider when buying an ergonomic chair? It should encourage movement. That means you should invest in a fully adjustable chair: the seat, back, and armrests too. Movement is very important if you want to increase your productivity and reduce the strain on your back, promoting blood and oxygen flow.
If you feel the tension in your back, neck, eyes, or shoulders, you may not be able to sit properly with the chair.
The chair with headrest provides support for your head and allows you to lean back. It encourages relaxation of the head and neck muscles even after a long period of sitting.
6. Lumbar Support
Lumbar support is one of the essential ergonomic options. You need to choose the firmest support possible and the possibility of making adjustments. Lumbar adjustment is usually up and down but is also available forwards and backwards to adjust to the back's natural curve.
7. Quality Materials
As for a sofa or an armchair, the choice of materials is very important. Leather office chairs are the most luxurious models. They are particularly durable and sturdy. Polyurethane also ensures good longevity but may not be suitable for people who tend to sweat a lot.
Less expensive, the fabric is ideal for enjoying good comfort while staying within your budget. Take care to choose models with a mesh backrest, a mesh that lets air through and ensures good breathability.
Armrests help reduce shoulder and arm tension. Depending on the chair and the user's posture, they can be adjustable in height, width, angle, etc. For a comfortable posture, try to form a right angle at the elbow while keeping the wrist in a straight line with the forearm.
9. An Adapted Working Position
To avoid back pain, choosing an ergonomic office chair is only one step. The most important thing is to choose a suitable and comfortable working position:
Always keep your feet flat and firmly planted on the floor, without your knees touching the work table.
Position your armrests at desk level or a little lower. Your shoulders should remain relaxed.
The chair seat should be parallel to the floor, and the backrest should have a natural angle.
10. Adjustable Height and Tilt
Look for a chair that supports the seat height and tilt tension to be adjusted according to your weight. The standard tipping point for office chairs is below the center of the seat. If your budget allows, choose a synchro-tilt or knee-tilt mechanism.
Having a good ergonomic office chair is essential to keep your back and joints healthy. For longer periods of use, office chairs with a synchronous mechanism are perfect and allow you to relax between long work shifts. Chairs with a reclining backrest are sufficient for occasional or short-term use. The adjustable armrests provide an ideal sitting position, allowing the neck and shoulders to relax. You can also take an interest in other aspects of your chair depending on your needs: breathable or non-breathable material, heavy or light weight, carpet or smooth surface casters, height, and width. Also, you should consider accessories such as the lumbar cushion, footrest, and adjustable headrest.
Maintenance increases the life of your office chair. Ideally, it is best to avoid spills of liquid on the backrest and seat. In this case, it can be enough to vacuum these parts of your office typing chair to remove the dust every two months or so.
However, it is difficult to protect the chair from liquids. To clean these liquids, avoid detergents that can attack the fabric. Instead, choose water for cleaning chocolate, milk, tea, or coffee stains. Alcohol can also help you to clean pen or ink stains. With grease, which is much harder to clean, you could use talcum powder. After a few minutes, wipe with a cloth moistened with white spirit.
The Importance of Making the Right Choice
Today, more and more people are being injured at work due to poor posture or poor ergonomics in the work environment, and they develop musculoskeletal disorders.
A good chair adapted to your morphology can help you avoid back pain, poor blood circulation, and it can help you maintain your productivity all day long.
An office chair that comes with the key ergonomic adjustment features can be suitable for most workers. A higher-quality ergonomic chair naturally costs more, but the extra cost is worth it because the chair can provide multiple short- and long-term benefits for both the user and the company, including:
• Productivity, satisfaction, and an improved sense of belonging to the company
• Reduced absenteeism and fewer occupational injuries
• Better return on investment
Beyond its decorative character, the chair plays an important role in your comfort at work and preventing possible injuries if you remain seated for several hours in a working day. Several criteria, from design to price, materials, and technical characteristics, must be taken into account so that this tool can become a real assistant at the office and home. Also, make sure that this ergonomic chair has some useful options such as an adjustable height, lumbar support to optimally relieve your back, a high backrest, a padded cover for maximum comfort, or headrest support.
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