Adjustable office chairs are designed to benefit users comfortable functionality

What is ergonomic seating? Office workers or others who spend a great deal of time sitting in chairs performing tasks (including accountants, writers, game players, and others), often speak of the comfort (or discomfort) they experience rather than "chair ergonomics." Yet it is the ergonomic function and design of a chair (or lack thereof) that is actually affecting the physical well-being and comfort of users. This is because seats that are designed with anatomy in mind strive for neutral posture positioning which provides minimum muscle activity and strain for backs, shoulders and neck, arms, hips, and legs. The effect long-term sitting has on a body that is sitting with poor posture or improper seating doesn't become apparent for months or years, when, eventually pain and restricted movement become an even greater concern than mere chair comfort. (Lack of mobility has also been linked to Deep Vein Thrombosis in office workers.)

What to consider when shopping for the best chairs. There are thousands of office and task chairs or stools available for various business and computing requirements. Every body, however, will evaluate the "best chair" individually. Selecting an office chair with maximized adjustability and durability for the particular job you do within your affordable price range is very important.

 

Spine Align™ Chair

Item # 05-34556 Spine Align™ Chair 

The back shape matches the natural spine curvature and has a split back

Important settings and adjustment capabilities to consider include: 

  • Seat height, depth and tilt positioning
  • Backrest height, depth and tilt positioning
  • Lumbar support
  • Arm rest size, depth and height positioning
  • Non-slip seat material and padding comfort
  • 360 swivel capability (for office work)
  • Type of adjustment levers and where they are placed
  • Ease of lever use (particularly for those with wrist or arm injuries)
  • Stability of base
  • Easy caster mobility (when casters are required)
  • Is the seat and backrest size suitable for the user?

(Big and tall individuals as well as petite individuals,
for example, won't both be comfortable with the same seating adjustments.)

Task chair shown above without optional adjustable arms

Item # 05-34552

Task chair shown above without optional adjustable arms

Proper lumbar spine positioning is integral to correct ergonomic seating. The lumbar curve in the human back provides a balancing point for the center of gravity. Proper posture minimizes the activity and strain upon our back muscles while standing, for example. Yet this lumbar curve is also affected by how we sit, because the center of gravity can be misaligned by an inappropriate seating position; thus, if there is poor support creating a spine out of alignment with CG (center of gravity), the back muscles respond to provide support. Also, the front of spinal discs can become pinched if the lumbar spine is flattened.

Sitting in a single position for long periods causes continual pressure (static load) which then requires much longer periods of muscle recovery time. Unfortunately, office and computer workers typically fail to readjust their sitting position, stand up to walk around and stretch, though these are activities advised by experts to occur at least once per hour, if not every half hour.

When selecting any chair, it is important for the user to be attentive to their own body posture as well. For example, slouching when you're seated even in a high-end ergonomic chair will undercut the many benefits the chair was designed and purchased to provide.

 


Muscle strain (static load)

Muscle strain (static load)

can be caused by slouching as well as sitting upright at 90 degrees. Ergonomic chairs offer adjustable supports beneficial to those who use them properly.

Proper lumbar spine positioning is integral to correct ergonomic seating. The lumbar curve in the human back provides a balancing point for the center of gravity. Proper posture minimizes the activity and strain upon our back muscles while standing, for example. Yet this lumbar curve is also affected by how we sit, because the center of gravity can be misaligned by an inappropriate seating position; thus, if there is poor support creating a spine out of alignment with CG (center of gravity), the back muscles respond to provide support. Also, the front of spinal discs can become pinched if the lumbar spine is flattened.

Sitting in a single position for long periods causes continual pressure (static load) which then requires much longer periods of muscle recovery time. Unfortunately, office and computer workers typically fail to readjust their sitting position, stand up to walk around and stretch, though these are activities advised by experts to occur at least once per hour, if not every half hour.

When selecting any chair, it is important for the user to be attentive to their own body posture as well. For example, slouching when you're seated even in a high-end ergonomic chair will undercut the many benefits the chair was designed and purchased to provide.


Stacking Chairs with ergonomic backrest incorporated

Item #57-TGTA

Even stacking chairs and drafting stool have begun to incorporate ergonomic backrests or other adjustable features to provide greater seating comfort and support.

 

 

The best chairs allow adjustable seat and backrest height and depth adjustment and much more. The back of human being's lower lumbar support and positioning, as well as that of our hips and thighs, are affected by the height and tilt of both the chair's seat and backrest. Sitting with the chair set low can raise your knees higher than your hips and can also set you too low for your arm and wrist to sit efficiently at table surface height; you're also able to stand with less exertion in a high position. One way to begin gauging your correct chair seat height is to stand facing the chair seat while having the seat itself positioned to knee level while you're standing. Once that is done, only very minor adjustments might be required.

Many experts state that the best chairs are constructed to allow the user to make the necessary adjustments so that:  (a) The seat is curved slightly downward from the back towards the front, (b) that your knees are slightly lower than your hips when your seat height is adjusted so your weight is carried at the top of the seat's rear horizontal curve, (c) Your back rest provides lumbar curve support (this typically requires a height adjustable chair backrest), and (d) Your seat back can be tilted slightly back to approximately "a 135 degree body/thigh posture" (per positional MRI research reported in Science Daily in November 2006) rather than a 90° angle to the seat, as the 135° position was found to be the most advantageous sitting posture in terms of bio-mechanics.

What type of office chairs do you require for your job and what design and adjustable features will help you?  Bear in mind that no matter what job you perform, your posture and seating should provide you adjustability. As a user, however, you can also be mindful of maintaining your shoulders at ease with your arms. Elbows should be bent at 90 degrees for typing with your wrists sitting evenly and relaxed over your desk surface. Your head is bent forward very slightly though in-line with your torso. The best chairs help you maintain the good posture you set rather than work against you.