The average office worker sits for about 10 hours a day, five days a week, and most of that is sitting in our chair at our desk. It important to choose an office chair that encourages good posture.
Proper posture helps to:
- Reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
- Improve breathing, digestion of food and circulation.
- Support a positive state of mental and emotional health.
- Encourages self-esteem through communication of self-assurance through non-verbal body language.
What is Good Posture?
Posture is how the body is positioned in its environment and in relationship to the other parts of the body, including the head, torso, legs and arms. Whether in motion or at rest, when the body is in proper alignment there is less stress put on the muscles and joints. An ergonomic task chair is designed to help put the users body in a natural position while sitting, so they can be comfortable and do their job effectively.
Since there are so many body types and tasks, it is important that a chair considered ergonomic is:
- Highly adjustable.
- Built from quality products to maintain the quality of support needed over time.
Good Posture While Sitting
1. Head Alignment
- It is important that the head is balanced in a neutral position on top of the shoulders.
- Ears, shoulders and hips should be aligned.
- The average head weighs between 8 and 12 pounds. If the head moves forward even a little bit, the spine and all supporting ligaments, tendons and muscles must compensate to support that weight.
- The chair should easily be adjusted to move up or down while sitting. Usually, this is a paddle-shaped lever on the side just below the seat. Then adjust the height of the chair so that the computer monitor is at eye level and feet comfortably placed on the floor/foot stool.
2. Neutral Pelvis
- It is important that the pelvis is in a neutral, forward pelvic tilt while sitting to ensure the natural curve of the spine.
- A reclined posture helps to do this by opening up the angle between the torso and thigh.
- Quality ergonomic chairs often have a tilt position adjustment, including tension control, to allow the seat to tilt forward and back to a comfortable reclining or upright position.
3. Shoulders Relaxed
- When the head is aligned and the shoulders are down and back, the neck and shoulder muscles can relax.
- Armrests that move up and down and inward and outward, are ideal.
- When working at a desk, ensure the arms rest comfortably on the armrests; in a relaxed position to help reduce muscle fatigue.
- Adjust the armrest inward when doing close to body tasks such as keyboarding, and in the outward position when using a computer mouse.
4. Natural Curve of Spine
- An ergonomic chair should support the natural curve of the spine so that the user can maintain proper posture.
- After sitting for a period, it is easy to begin slouching.
- A well-designed backrest will have a lumbar support to help support the lower curve of the back and a headrest to support the head.
- Ensuring these back supports are adjustable helps to fine tune the position for each employee’s needs.
- Breathability of the back support material makes it more comfortable to sit back into the chair and utilize the ergonomic features.
5. Ease of Motion
- A workday should include time getting in and out of the chair frequently to maintain a healthy movement.
- For ease of motion, make sure that the chair rotates, has casters or wheels that move freely and has armrests that have variable adjustments.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to support the natural position of the body while in a sitting position. They are designed to help maintain proper posture by helping users to have proper alignment of the spine and pelvis, support the muscles needed to perform tasks and make it easy to move around as needed. Through exercise, body awareness and ergonomic furniture, good posture can be achieved in the workplace.