The average office worker will spend 7 hours a day at their desk. The wrong sitting position will put stresses on the spine that could lead to long term health problems. In addition to the health issues, your productivity will also be reduced if you are uncomfortable at your desk. Employees now recognize this problem and are now prepared to spend serious money on getting quality ergonomic seating and chairs for their people. However, if you select the wrong chair it will not help no matter how much you have spent.
What to look for in an ergonomic chair
· Adjustable seat height
· A good size seat
· A backrest
· Good padding on seat
· Arm rests
· Lumbar support
· Easy to rotate
Desks and people come in many different sizes so ergonomic seating and chairs have to cater for the majority of variations. The height should be easy to adjust and have a good range of at least 40 – 53 centimeters from the floor to seat height. The depth and width of the seat should be sufficient to allow you to sit with your back in contact with the back support whilst leaving a space of approximately 8 centimeters between the back of your knees and the seat. If this distance is greater you could cause the muscles at the back of your leg to tighten. If the back of your knees are making contact with the seat you may impede your circulation.
It is essential to have good padding on the seat because you will be spending long hours on it! Arm and backrests allow for support which can prevent you from holding tension on your neck, shoulders and back – both rests should be adjustable.
Lumbar support is not as important as it was once considered. A good seat that supports your pelvis in conjunction with a good sitting posture virtually negates the need for lumber support. Having said this, it still can be a useful feature in ergonomic seating and chairs for when you are tired or under stress.
A rotating chair is definitely a must as most office workers will need to turn to get things from desk drawers of use PC and office equipment. This will help reduce stress on the lower back.
Roy Palmer is a teacher of movement re-education and author of 7 Seconds to Pain Relief, secrets of lasting relief from back, neck & shoulder pain. He has helped back pain
sufferers, sports people and performing artists over the last 12 years. He is also the author of three books on the subject of performance enhancement, injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes.