Do you really need to pay extra to get the benefits of an ergonomic office chair rather than using the cheaper roller chairs that have been around in offices for decades? The short answer is yes!
There have been hundreds of studies done over recent years that demonstrate the health dangers associated with sitting for long periods of time. It increases the risk of depression, heart disease, and poor blood circulation. In addition to this, sitting in the incorrect position for hours at a time can cause muscle damage and pain, cause poor posture that lasts for life, and reduce productivity and increase stress.
All these factors tend to result in less productive workers who are more likely to need to take time off to care for themselves outside of the office. Correcting issues inflicted by poor self-care is much harder than preventing them. A small investment in a slightly more expensive ergonomic office chair can increase productivity and significantly reduce spend on employee healthcare.
With this in mind, in this article we will look at the main benefits of an ergonomic chair, which apply whether you are in the office, working from home, studying, or gaming.
Ergonomic Chair Benefits
It’s hard to believe that one of the most dangerous things that many of us do each day is sitting. Research has shown that sitting for hours at a time reduces your life expectancy by increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, making dementia and depression more likely, and putting strain on your muscles.
This is why it is essential that anyone who spends a lot of time at a desk makes an active effort to get up on their feet every 30-40 minutes and do something that raises their heart rate, even if it is just walking to the bathroom and back.
You can also reduce the negative consequences of sitting too much by making sure you are sitting in a comfortable position with proper posture to limit other negative side effects. For this, you need an ergonomic chair.
Ergonomic chairs are specifically designed to allow you to maintain a good posture while working and to properly distribute your weight to limit muscle tension and other issues. They tend to be fully adjustable since no two people are the same, so chair height, armrests, and lumbar support all need to be adjustable.
Below are the key benefits of ergonomic chairs over other types of office seating.
Reduces Neck And Lower Back Pain
One of the main issues for people who spend a lot of time sitting is neck and lower back pain. This is because most office chairs do not support proper posture, but instead encourage you to hunch forward toward your monitor and keyboard. This causes a curve in the spine and neck that is not natural, and your muscles have to adapt to this new position. This often results in a sore neck and aching lower back.
An ergonomic chair provides lumbar support that encourages you to sit up straight in your chair. Combined with a keyboard and monitor placed at the proper height so you don’t need to hunch forward, and you will find that your spine supports your weight much better and reduces pain.
Another result of hunching forward is bad posture. When you spend hours a day doing this, you teach your body that this is the position that you want it to take, and you will find yourself hunching all the time and not just when sitting at your desk.
Again, an ergonomic chair with proper lumbar support helps you maintain a good posture throughout the day, so that sitting does less damage to the way you hold yourself.
Reduces Hip Pressure
While most people know that sitting the wrong way can result in neck and back pain, few people realize it can also be a problem for your hips. Sitting on a chair that is too hard or does not distribute your weight properly can put excessive pressure on the hips, which can reduce their natural mobility over time. This can result in painful issues such as sciatica.
A good ergonomic chair has appropriate cushioning and a seat design that reduces the amount of weight that bears down on your hips.
Sitting in uncomfortable positions for long periods can cause stress and irritability. We can often find ourselves feeling edgy without really being able to identify the source of the stress. Niggling pains and a constant desire to shift affect our stress levels, which can already run high at the office.
There are many studies that look at the effects of stress on our health and well-being, and most of us are now conscious of the need to limit stress by taking regular time off and switching off work tasks at the end of the day. Even with all of this, we can be undermining all our stress-reducing activities if we allow physical annoyances to eat away at our inner calm.
Can Enhance Your Productivity
Stress and discomfort also inhibit productivity. It is hard to concentrate when you’re worried about aches, pains, and unwelcome thoughts.
Studies have shown that a comfortable, ergonomic office chair can significantly improve productivity by making it easier to concentrate and reduce stress.
Additional Benefits For Companies
There are clear benefits to the individual for using an ergonomic chair, as it has demonstrable physical and mental health benefits, but there are also important benefits for companies that might otherwise be reluctant to make the extra investment to get ergonomic chairs.
- More efficient teams that produce more in less time
- More cooperative and creative teams that produce better ideas
- Better work culture as stress is reduced
- Fewer sick days, as employees are less likely to need mental health days or to visit the doctor
A true cost-benefit analysis suggests that investing in ergonomic equipment, including chairs, saves businesses more than their initial outlay in the long run.
Ergonomic Chair – Essential Features
To gain the benefits of an ergonomic office chair, you need to find a good quality chair that does the job. Below are the main features to consider when assessing an ergonomic office chair.
- Adjustable Height – Of course, the height of your chair should be adjustable so that you can sit comfortably with your feet on the ground and your torso at the right level for your screen and keyboard, but this means more than just adjusting the seat height. The height of the backrest, footrest, and other features should also be adjustable.
- Seat Pan – The seat pan is what supports both the posture of your lower back and the distribution of weight across your hips. This should also be an adjustable feature, and should extend out at least an inch around your hips.
- Padding – Appropriate padding in the seat pan is important. It should not be so hard that it creates pressure on the hips, but also not so soft that you feel like you are falling into a crater.
- Arm Support – Holding your arms in a typing position all day actually puts strain on your lower back, which is why armrests in the right position are essential for your comfort.
Whenever possible, you should try an ergonomic chair before you buy it, to ensure that it’s a good fit for you. Bear in mind, though, that it can take some time to figure out all the adjustments to make your ergonomic seat ideal for you.
Do ergonomic chairs make a difference?
Ergonomic chairs can make a significant difference to both your physical and mental health if you sit for long periods. They can reduce neck and back pain as well as damage to the hips, help you maintain good posture, and reduce stress and discomfort.
Are ergonomic chairs good for long hours?
Ergonomic chairs can help a lot if you work long hours. You can concentrate and stay focused for longer, and you are less likely to suffer from pain after work; however, sitting for extended periods is never ideal, and you should schedule regular breaks to go for a walk or do something else to raise your heart rate.
A good ergonomic chair can make a bigger difference than you think when you are someone who needs to spend a considerable amount of the day sitting. A bad chair can result in poor posture, neck and lower back pain, hip issues, increased stress, and reduced productivity.
A few adjustments to your work environment, starting with a chair that properly distributes your weight and supports your posture, will leave you feeling physically better as you reduce unnecessary stress on your body, and mentally better as you are better able to focus, concentrate, and deal with stress.
Do you also need the right support in your living room? Try our ergonomic sofa guide.
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