Prevent the Effects of Sitting: What Is the Best Ergonomic Office Chair?
Although we may have entirely different professions, us office workers have one thing in common – sitting. Five days a week and up to 8 hours a day – so much of our time is spent sitting. Unfortunately, this can have a number of harmful effects on your health, with back pain and neck pain being the most common problems. In fact, prolonged sitting is now commonly referred to as “the new smoking”.
But if anything can make spending your workday sitting easier, it’s a good office chair. If you experience joint pain, numbness or neck and back pain – then it’s time to get a quality ergonomic chair. An ergonomic office chair can be an investment for your health, comfort and productivity. So, what is the best desk chair for you? Here are some important factors to consider.
The right chair will have a backrest that is designed for the natural curve of your body. It should be high enough so that you can rest your upper back and have extra support for the lower back. This way, the chair will help keep you in an upright position for the entire day. Some of the better chairs will feature adjustable lumbar support which allows the user to precisely adjust the backrest to their lower back. This is especially important for people that experience lower back pain. A model like the Buro chair, with a good backrest and lumbar support, can help prevent back strain that can worsen and become sciatica, a debilitating condition.
An Adjustable Design
Everyone is built differently. With that being said, the best ergonomic chairs are the ones that can be precisely adjusted to the unique physic of the user. When shopping for a chair, make sure to check that can be adjusted in more ways than just the seat height. Some important features that should be adjustable are: tension control, armrest height and width, seat width, as well as seat and back angle. This can allow you to tweak the chair so that it fits your body ideally. Some models that have up to 14 adjustable features are Insitu, Humanscale and the Buro chair.
When adjusting your seat height, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and your legs are at a 90-degree angle with the floor. This way, your thighs are horizontal and your arms are even with the height of the desk, which reduces the pressure on key points and joints of your body. As for the seat width, make sure that you adjust it so that your back is completely against the backrest with 1-2 cm of space between the seat and the back of the knees.
To increase your comfort while sitting for long periods of time, your chair needs to have proper padding in the seat, backrest and armrests. The cushioning should be preferably memory foam or high-density polyurethane moulded foam. These two types of cushioning do not wear out as quickly as other options and can also mould to your body.
The Wheel Base
Almost all office chairs have a wheel base, both standard models and ergonomic ones. However, the wheels can be made of different materials. If your office is carpeted, look for a chair that has wheels suitable for carpet. When the chair is able to roll easily, it can help prevent strain caused by reaching across the desk to get an item.
A Swivel Mechanism
Office chairs that have swivel seats will reduce the need to turn your torso in awkward angles to reach something or to talk to a co-worker.
The Seat Material
What kind of material is best for a desk chair is often a question of personal preference. But overall, everyone can agree on a few things. The material should be breathable as to not overheat you while sitting and it should also be durable to resist the daily wear and tear. While leather chairs are easy to maintain and look attractive, they are known to be a nuisance in the summer. If you want the same look as leather, opt for PU leather which is a more breathable option.
Fabric is by far the most popular choice for office chair seats. Often made from a combination of cotton and hemp, fabric seats are breathable and a lot more comfortable than leather seats. They are also available in many colours which can help you add a personal touch to your office desk. However, the biggest issue with fabric chairs is that they are prone stains and difficult to clean which can be a problem if you like to eat your meals in your seat.
Currently, mesh chairs are gaining popularity as the material is designed to enhance breathability which can help you stay comfortable. Mesh is also a durable material, but it can be difficult to clean as dirt and debris can get inside the tiny holes.