The average person spends 9.5 hours a day sitting down, and for working people, the majority of this time is spent at work. On a normal chair, back pain and neck strain from bad posture are daily problems. Although often these issues are merely discomfort, they can easily progress into dangerous diseases if left untreated.
This is where ergonomic chairs come in. There are 3 main features in most Ergonomic chairs. The first one is the ability to adjust seat height a well as the depth and lumbar support. However, newer ergonomic chairs now have far more features compared to the initially invented ones in the 1970s.
Ergonomic chairs offer a whole host of health and well-being benefits, both for those suffering from sitting-related ailments and those wishing to reduce the risk of problems in the future.
1. Improve Blood Circulation
Poor blood pressure can cause dry skin, a blue tinge to your legs, hair loss and serious foot issues. Normal chairs, when sat in for prolonged periods of time, can weaken leg muscles, slow blood flow and even cause blood clots. Instead, opting for an ergonomic chair and turning the seat angle to 90 degrees can actually encourage blood flow to your legs. There are so many benefits to good blood circulation, including a better ability to fight off diseases and healthy organs.
2. Reduce Hip Pressure
We tend to sit with our pelvis tilted backwards, which causes us to bear weight on our hips. Take advantage of the padding of ergonomic chairs, and the angle and depth adjustments of the seat to distribute weight more evenly.
3. Address Back & Neck Pain
The adjustable features of ergonomic chairs means that you can align your height to your workstation, reducing slouching and strain in the neck. For those that struggle with back pain already, look for an ergonomic chair with a backrest that mirrors the natural curvature of the spine for additional support.
4. Boost Productivity
Companies often invest in ergonomic furniture in order to boost their employees’ productivity. The reduction of discomfort makes it easier to focus, and extra features like wheels can really speed up work rate over the course of a day.
How to Pick the Right Ergonomic Chair
There are several key features to consider when choosing an ergonomic seat. For a full how-to guide, click here. For a quick guide, these are the most important features to look out for:
1. Seat height
Make sure the seat height is easily adjustable. If possible, try the seat before buying it, making sure you can have your feet on the floor with your elbows level with the height of your desk.
2. Seat width and depth
The width of the seat should be wide enough for you to sit comfortably, but not so much that you have to stretch your arms for your elbows to reach the armrest.
In terms of seat depth, you should be able to sit with your back against the backrest and still have 2-4 inches between your knees and the edge of the seat.
3. Lumbar support
Your spine has a natural curve. Whilst non-ergonomic chairs are often straight, ergonomic chairs curve with your back, helping to support the weight held by your lower back and therefore reduce pain.
The material you choose depends on what you need from the chair. For example, fabric chairs are recommended for comfort, padding and weight distribution, but they are harder to clean than their vinyl and leather alternatives. Mesh proves a great pick for those looking for a breathable chair with good airflow – useful in a hot office where leather gets sticky! – but this material doesn’t distribute weight as well as its fabric alternative.