Living in a world where we are exposed to a lot of active sitting, choosing the right type of office chair can be a lifesaver. Poor seating can negatively affect your body, productivity, mood and overall well-being in various ways. It can lead to poor blood flow in your body leading to diseases like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or cervical spondylosis. Luckily, not all is lost – ergonomic chairs are here to save the day.
The proper office chair is supposed to provide adequate support for your body so that you are able to perform your best while working on your desk. By providing the right support for the crucial parts of your body, your office chair can become your best ally to high performance and being your best self. However, there are some very important features to consider when buying an ergonomic chair.
Look for a backrest that is about 30 to 48 centimetres wide. If the backrest is not a part of the seat, it should be adjustable in angle and height. It should also support the natural curve of the spine while offering the proper support for the lumbar region. If the chair has the seat and backrest together as one piece, then the backrest should be adjustable in forwarding and back angles, with a locking mechanism to secure it from going too far backward once you have determined the right angle for you.
Lower back support is a very important feature. Your lumbar spine has an inward curve and sitting for long periods without the proper support for this curve can lead to slouching and straining the structures in the lower spine. So, choose a chair that has the right lumbar adjustment that supports the inward curve of your lower back.
Your office chair’s seat height should be easily adjustable and the easiest way to do this is with a pneumatic adjustment lever. A seat height ranging from about 40 to 50 centimetres off the floor usually works well for most people. In a proper seating position, your feet should be flat on the floor, with your thighs horizontal and your arms even with the height of the desk.
Seat Width and Depth
To support you comfortably, the seat of your ergonomic chair should have enough width and depth. Usually, a seat that is 41 to 53 centimetres wide is ideal. The depth needs to be enough so that you can sit with your back against the backrest of the chair while leaving approximately 5 to 10 centimetres between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair.
The material of your chair seat and back should have enough padding to ensure you are comfortable when sitting for extended periods of time. It is recommended that the seat is made from a breathable cloth fabric rather than a hard surface.
It is also important for the armrests of the chair to be adjustable. They should allow your arms to rest comfortably and your shoulders to be relaxed. Your elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and your forearm should not be on the armrest while typing.
Choosing a chair that can easily rotate will allow you to reach different areas of your desk without straining.
Changing and adjusting your posture frequently will help you stay comfortable and more attentive. Furthermore, reclining in your chair supports the weight of your upper body and as a result, relieves some weight from your lower back. Look for a chair that allows you to comfortably recline without straining your eyes, neck or arms.
Signs That You Need a New Office Chair
If you are in pain, that is the first sign that you need a new chair. Our bodies are not designed to be held in the same position for extended periods and pain is the easiest way to notice that your chair is not for you. Also, even if your old chair is an ergonomic one, it should typically be replaced within a five year period. This helps to keep the cushion and support strong enough to provide the right comfort and support.
If your office chair’s backrest doesn’t provide good lumbar support or doesn’t provide it at all, you should consider replacing it. When there is no lumbar support and your back is bent forward, the muscles of the back start to force the lumbar region out of its natural curve which places pressure on the discs and reduces blood supply to the spinal tissue.
At the end of the day, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t let a poorly designed or worn-out chair to impact your health and well-being. Consider the features above and find the best office chair for you.