We’re not designed to be sitting down all day. Our ancestors worked outside much more, and initially humanity were hunter-gatherers, meaning that huge amounts of time were spent standing and moving. Due to the rise of the office job in the 20th century, more and more of use work in sedentary roles. We sit and we type, and while we might occasionally need to wander over to the photocopier, in general we just don’t move. |
This posture means that we’re putting more strain on our shoulders, arms and legs, but in particular, we’re staining our back muscles and spinal disks. This means that a huge percentage of office workers suffer from back pain throughout their careers, many struggling through and others having to take days off because the pain is just unbearable.
Many of us start out sitting really well, but the longer we’re seated for the more we begin to slouch. While an ergonomic office chair will give you some much needed support, setting it up correctly and keeping your own posture in check will also have a massive impact on your spinal woes.
What is an ergonomic office chair?
An ergonomic office chair is a seat specifically designed to help maximise support and keep your posture in line as much as a chair can. If it’s not correctly set up though, there’s very little a single chair can do to make any difference at all. Each chair will need to be adjusted differently for the specific user who will be using that work station – so we would highly encourage using the same desk every day.
Your elbows should be at 90 degrees when your upper arms are parallel to your spine. You should be able to easily reach your keyboard or desk in general from this position. If you can’t, you’ll need to raise or lower your seat. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your thighs parallel to them. There should be a small gap underneath your thighs at the front of the seat pad, and if there isn’t you might need a foot rest to prop your feet up. For taller workers you might need an adjustable work desk so that you raise your seat high enough so you can sit comfortably – or you’ll lose all benefit of an ergonomic office chair.
Even if your seat is adjusted to perfection, you shouldn’t be sitting for too long as this will cause additional issues. You need to stand, stretch, and walk about for a minute every half an hour. Just wandering to get a glass of water can be the difference between back pain and great office practise.
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