Yes, Your Office Chair Affects Your Health!

Being healthy is a big issue in our lives today and will remain an issue as we move into the future. The average individual spends approximately 8 hours and 52 minutes at the office and much of that time is spent sitting in an office chair.

So how can a great office chair make you healthier? Here are the key points to remember for your next research process when you need a new chair for your home office or at your workplace.

We’ve Got Your Back–Support Spinal Health: This is a crucial point that directly reflects on your state of mind and body during the time you are sitting and working and for the hours and days afterward.

What Kind of Office Chair is Best?

There are many types of chairs available for use in the office. No one type of office chair is necessarily the best, but there are some things that are very important to look for in a good office chair. These things will allow you to make the chair work best for your specific needs.

This article will examine the traditional office chair, as well as alternatives which may be preferable for those people with back problems.

What Features Should a Good Office Chair Possess?

When considering the “conventional” office chair, there are a number of things a chair should have, including:

  • Seat height. Office chair seat height should be easily adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this. A seat height that ranges from about 16 to 21 inches off the floor should work for most people. This allows the user to have his or her feet flat on the floor, with thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk.
  • Seat width and depth. The seat should have enough width and depth to support any user comfortably. Usually 17-20 inches wide is the standard. The depth (from front to back of the seat) needs to be enough so that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest of the office chair while leaving approximately 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. The forward or backward tilt of the seat should be adjustable.
  • Lumbar support. Lower back support in a chair is very important. The lumbar spine has an inward curve, and sitting for long periods without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching (which flattens the natural curve) and strains the structures in the lower spine. A chair should have a lumbar adjustment (both height and depth) so each user can get the proper fit to support the inward curve of the lower back.
  • Backrest. The backrest of an office chair should be 12 to 19 inches wide. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be adjustable in height and angle. It should be able to support the natural curve of the spine, again with special attention paid to proper support of the lumbar region. If the office chair has the seat and backrest together as one piece, the backrest should be adjustable in forward and back angles, with a locking mechanism to secure it from going too far backward once the user has determined the appropriate angle.
  • Seat material. The material on the office chair seat and back should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is preferable to a harder surface.

In This Article:

  • Armrests. Office chair armrests should be adjustable. They should allow the user’s arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing.
  • Swivel. Any conventional style or ergonomic chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining.
  • As an alternative to the more traditional office chair, new styles of chairs have been designed to try to create good support, comfort and promote good posture. These chairs may take a little getting used to, but typically become very comfortable over time. Use of these types of chairs can be very beneficial for some people with lower back pain or discomfort.

    Kneeling Chair

    The kneeling chair is an office chair that has no back, and places the user in a modified kneeling position. The design encourages good posture by sliding the hips forward and aligning the back, shoulder and neck. Primary support is from the seat of the chair, with additional support coming from the shins. This type of chair distributes the weight between the pelvis and the knees, which reduces spinal compression, and therefore reduces the stress and tension in the lower back and leg muscles. This chair has a forward slanting seat that leads to a more natural position for the spine. The result is an office chair that makes sitting in the proper position feel comfortable and effortless.

    Saddle Chair

    The saddle chair is another chair that can be used as a desk chair or computer chair. This type of office chair is in the shape of a horse’s saddle and puts the user in a position somewhere between sitting and standing, similar to the position used when riding a horse. This allows the legs to drop naturally, and widen, creating a healthy and stable position. This position is often useful for patients with lower back problems. With long term use it can even strengthen the back muscles. These chairs have an adjustable height to be appropriate for different users. The design is intended to eliminate some of the typical problems experienced with a traditional office chair such as circulation system problems and slouching forward.