The Importance of an Ergonomic Chair

How many of us spend most of our time sitting down? How much time do we actually spend sitting down? All that time at the office, on the commute to and from work, at the dinner table, and even when watching the game when relaxing at home. When you look at it that way it’s no surprise that people in developed countries can spend up to 90% of their waking time in a seated position!

We all know it’s unhealthy to be seated for such long periods of time, but we still have to do most of these activities. The solution; get an ergonomic chair! While it cannot solve all your problems it will certainly help alleviate some of the negative side effects of a poor seated position for your longest bouts with computer work.

A poor seated position can lead to many repercussions ranging from slight to severe pain. Sitting poorly affects everything from breathing efficacy to fatigue. 

Here are some more examples of what poor posture can do.

Exacerbate arthritis

Poor posture can lead to a misalignment of your spine, which in turn increases stress on the knees. This is particularly painful if already suffering from arthritis in the knees. Over time, that misalignment can aggravate the effects of arthritis by putting pressure on one part of the joint and causing pain.

Poor circulation

Sitting poorly prevents your body from getting the necessary circulation it needs. This can lead to varicose veins, women being particularly susceptible to this.

Fatigue

Having a poor seated position puts tension and compression on structures that weren’t meant to bear such loads. These stresses and strains build up over time and wear down our bones, joints, and ligaments, and even changing the way our muscles behave. Poor posture and gait require much more energy to work and maintain and compensate for.

Mood

According to research done in the Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that upright and proper posture may increase positive affect, reduce fatigue and decrease self-focus in people with mild to moderate depression. Meaning good posture can help you feel more confident and less self-aware!

Forward head posture/muscle pain

This is a common condition when your head is aligned forward in relation to your spine. Ideally, a healthy head and neck relationship would align a person’s ear with their shoulder when viewing them from the side. As the head progressively lurches forward over time, the individual may succumb to a myriad of musculoskeletal dysfunctions impacting various systems of the body. This can often lead to weakened muscles in the neck and shoulder area and also lead to muscle strain and tension headaches.

Breathing efficacy

To breathe properly, the diaphragm needs to have enough space in the thoracic cavity to properly expand and contract with each breath. Poor posture can cause a lack of oxygen reaching your brain and heart.

So now that we know what we need to avoid, let’s see how we can avoid doing it by taking a look at what constitutes an ergonomic chair and why these functions are important. 

Here is a list of functions an ergonomic chair should come with:

Seat height adjustment

Features for either lengthening or shortening to suit a person’s dimension. The recommended level is to put your knees just above the level of your hips with your feet flat on the floor.

Seat pan depth

This slides your seat forward and backward so that your legs can settle in a way as to not cut off circulation.

Backrest height adjustment

Adjust your backrest to the appropriate task, so that the back is relaxed and less strained.

Back angle adjustment

Lets you change the angle of the chair to a different position. It is recommended to keep switching positions throughout the day and to even leave this option unlocked for free movement to keep the body moving more freely.

Arm support adjustment

Adjustable arm supports in height and width to help you support your arms while typing. The proper position will reduce strain on your back and shoulders.

Quality casters

When getting in and out of a chair most of your weight is only supported by one or two wheels. It is important that the quality of these will be good so that they do not break or snap during normal use.

Back tilt tension

This adjusts the pressure needed to recline in your chair. Smaller individuals may want to loosen these options. This may seem like a lot of options for a chair, but according to the guys at ChairInstitute.com any of the chairs that offer these adjustments as an upgrade over your current model will “serve you well and do wonders for your health and back!”

It is important to always be looking out for your health and wellness. The best way we can do that is by making sure that the activities we do the most on a consistent basis are done as efficiently and safely as possible.

Since we spend most of our time sitting it would make sense to make sure our seated position is as ergonomic and beneficial to our health as possible. The best way to do this is by watching for the negative effects of posture and trying to incorporate as many of the seat features as I mentioned into your chair and your back will be thanking you in no time.