Choosing an ergonomic office chair can be difficult due to the complexities associated with the functions and features available. Sitting in the correct posture while you are working is paramount and will help in the short-term and more importantly in the long-term. Once you have accepted that posture is important for a healthy back, the right chair should go further than simple ergonomic by training your body to sit correctly. Some ergonomic chairs provide ergonomic features but if you keep sitting with the wrong posture you will have the same problems prior to using an ergonomic chair.
There are 2 examples of bad practices that instantly come to mind: having a pad between you and your keyboard will force you to lean forward and you will lose the back support of the chair. Some people will even sit with one leg folded on the seat pan. Nowadays ergonomic engineering and technology is pushing new boundaries and some of the most recommended ergonomic chairs will promote a good posture simply by not letting you sit incorrectly. How do they do that? Basically, you will feel very comfortable and supported if you are sitting correctly. However if you are sitting in the position which gives you no back support, for instance on the edge of the seat, within seconds you will feel like correcting your posture because of the lack of comfort.
Once you get used to the chair, you will soon feel the benefits. After a few weeks you may also feel that the chair helps to strengthen your body. This would come from the back-rest of the chair pushing gently against your back giving you support. As a natural response your body will push back against the back-rest of the chair using your back muscles – in essence working out the muscles in your back and strengthening them.
If you suffer from back pain a good ergonomic chair combined with regular gentle/slow stretching exercises to loosen your back will go a long way. If you had back pain treatment from a physiotherapist you would have been given treatment for the problem and probably a sheet of recommended exercises to strengthen your back. For some people, when the weather gets cold and damp, aches and pains start to appear like clockwork – as if they were by direct debit. If such is the case, you should make sure you do the stretching exercises especially during that time of the year.
Then it’s back to being conscious of your posture again, key to this is the ergonomic chair. So which is the best chair for you? What else do you need to complete you ergonomic office configuration to create the perfect ergonomic working environment whether at work or at home?
Once you have the right ergonomic office chair, and the right ergonomic desk, the items you use on your desk need to come to you rather than you reaching out repeatedly all day long. Try and pause for a moment and plan how to rearrange your desk so that what you use the most is easily reachable. Do you have to reach out in an odd position to grab a pen? Do you have to twist yourself downwards to target the bin? Is your phone close enough and on the right side of the desk? Is your monitor at the right height or do you find yourself looking down and tensing your neck muscles over time? All these are considerations that will need to be addressed to create the perfect ergonomic set-up. There are also a range of ergonomic accessories which will perform these necessary adjustments to get everything just right!