Choosing an Ergonomic Office Chair

Despite increased awareness about the dangers of sitting for hours on end, the American lifestyle remains predominantly sedentary. Not only do the majority of jobs require extended hours of inactivity, long commutes keep us sitting for even longer periods. The act of sitting all day takes a serious toll on your health, increasing your chances of developing chronic diseases that can shorten your lifespan. That is why it’s important to do something about sitting, even something as simple as finding the right chair to sit in.

While choosing an ergonomic office chair may not prevent cardiovascular issues, it can help raise awareness about your posture. The design of the chair, its quality and comfort, directly impact your health and productivity. The key thing to look for is not only how comfortable the chair feels upon first seating or how it fits into your budget, but how well it can adjust.

Ability to Adjust

High-end office chairs not only let you adjust height, they also allow you to recline, adjust armrests, and even seat depth. If you sit down all day, these are important features to have to prevent your spine from maintaining a rigid position. When testing a chair for reclining ability, be sure that you can reach your keyboard without straining your eyes, shoulders, or arms. Reclining reduces the pressure on your vertebrae that sitting inflicts.

The height of your chair should always let you plant your feet flat on the floor. Seat depth caters to the comfort of your leg length. If the seat of the chair is too long, you’ll want to lean forward instead of utilizing the back rest. This causes strain on your back.

Armrests should be able to support your arms while you are using or resting them. Having support eases the pressure on your shoulders, arms and neck. Pivoting arm rests let you match the angle of the armrests to your natural typing position.

Lumbar Support

Adjustable lumbar support is a prized feature In select chairs. Low back pain is the #1 pain complaint amongst office workers. An adjustable lumbar mechanism puts you in charge of firmness, position, and moving ability. The lower back should sit comfortably against the support. Sitting correctly allows oxygen to move more swiftly through your muscles. Blood flow is increased and that helps you stay focused and energized.

Choosing a Material

You should always try a chair before buying it. The material is worthy of consideration because you’re going to be rubbing up against it for hours on end.

Leather and memory foam are highly desirable, adjusting to your contours and proving a luxurious experience. Memory foam in particular is critical for an ergonomic chair as it provides the most comfort and support. The foam reacts to body heat and weight and remains comfortable for long periods of time.

Another synthetic material, mesh, is also a good option. The material is not only light, it requires no maintenance and inexpensive. Mesh adapts to many different body shapes and sizes. It is a durable material that can work well if you’re on a tight budget.

Now that you know what to look for in an office chair, remember to maintain a proper posture and get up throughout the day for short walking breaks. The chair won’t prevent you from the negative health effects of sitting, but it can help you reduce strain on pressure points and prevent pain. If you do suffer from chronic back pain, be sure to book an appointmentwith Dr. Marc A. Cohen of the Spine Institute today or call 973-538-4444.