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Despite of what most people think, working in an office is not necessarily a comfortable job, as it involves spending a lot of time sitting in your chair. This body posture for long periods of time puts stress on the spine, causing various back problems. To avoid such problems, it is essential to choose a good ergonomic office chair, which is designed to offer better support for the lower back and to promote good posture for your body.
What kind of ergonomic office chair is best for you?
As you probably know, there are various ergonomic chairs to choose from for your office. Although there is not one type to consider the best, there are some characteristics that you should look for when trying to find an office chair. These help each individual user find the chair that works well for their specific needs.
Important characteristics and features for a good ergonomic office chair
- Seat height. In regards to seat height, it is important for it to be easily adjustable. One of the easiest way to do this is an adjustment lever. One of the best heights, which works well for most people, is a seat height between 16 and 21 inches off the floor. This enables the user to have their feet flat on the floor, while keeping the arms even with the desk’s height.
- Seat width and depth. These are important aspects, as they help the chair provide enough support for the user to sit comfortably. The recommended width is between 17 and 20 inches. The depth refers to the distance from front to back of the seat, and this is recommended to be enough to allow the user to sit with their back against the backrest of the chair, whilst leaving about 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the chair’s seat.
- Seat material. Although you would probably tend to overlook this aspect, it is very important. It needs to have enough padding to offer the necessary comfort when the user sits on it for a prolonged time. Rather then a harder surface, it is recommended to opt for an office chair that has a cloth fabric that breathes.
- Backrest. An office chair should have a backrest of 12 to 19 inches wide. The backrest should offer proper support for the lumbar region.
- Lumbar support. It is essential for an ergonomic chair to offer lower back support. Try to find an office chair that has a lumbar adjustment, which allows the user to get the proper fit to support the inward curve of their lower back.
- Armrests. The armrests of an office chair should be adjustable, to allow the user’s arms to rest comfortably. This would also allow the shoulders to be relaxed, and the lower arms and elbows to rest lightly.
- Swivel. An ergonomic office chair should easily rotate, to allow its user to reach various areas of the desk, without straining.
Types of ergonomic office chair
There are various types of ergonomic office chairs to choose from. Here you will see a list with some of the most sought-after chairs, and the main characteristics for each of them.
- Saddle ergonomic chair
This is an excellent choice for a computer or desk chair. It is designed to resemble the shape of a horse’s saddle, and it puts the user in a position similar to that used when riding a horse, which is a position between sitting and standing. This position allows the user’s legs to drop naturally and widen, which is a stable and healthy position of the body. This position is especially recommended to those people who have lower back problems. The design of this chair is meant to reduce some general problems that occur when using a traditional office chair, such as slouching forward and circulatory system problems.
- Exercise ball ergonomic chair
This is an innovative ergonomic chair. It has the design of a ball, and it is large enough to support the user. One of its advantages is that it promotes movement and active sitting. Sitting on this chair involves a slight bouncing, which allows the legs to move, thus stimulating circulation and keeping muscles busy. This reduces stress and tiredness. As sitting on this chair prevents slouching, it promotes a good posture of the body.
- Recliner chair
Certain categories of people find it more comfortable to sit in a reclined position. This category includes mostly people with pain caused by degenerative disc disease or lumbar spinal stenosis. They feel most comfortable when sitting in a reclined position, with their feet propped up on a footrest. These people are recommended to opt for a recliner chair for their work. Although this type of chair is not an excellent choice for an office desk, it can work well with a small table attached to it.
- Kneeling ergonomic chair
The kneeling ergonomic chair has no back, and it allows the user to sit in a kneeling posture. Its design promotes good posture by sliding the hips forward, while aligning the back, shoulders, and neck. This chair offers primary support from the seat, and additional support from the shins. It distributes the weight between the pelvis and the knees, a feature that is meant to reduce spinal compression, and thus to reduce the stress and tension in the lower back and leg muscles. Given its forward slanting seat, this office ergonomic chair provides a more natural posture for the spine. With this chair, the user is capable to effortlessly obtain a comfortable posture while sitting.
What does this all mean?
Choosing the right ergonomic office chair is essential, yet it is still not enough. Short breaks taken throughout the day are also a must in order to enhance circulation. It is needed that you get up from time to time, to encourage a stronger posture and to relieve strain on your back and eyes.