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Ergonomic Office Chairs: A Buying Guide

If you are spending hours at a desk every week then you might want to consider what benefits ergonomic office chairs can provide for you in the long run. Ergonomics refers to the application of scientific research and information to the process of designing objects thus making them more comfortable and more efficient to use. In terms of seating ergonomic office chairs are chairs which should provide support to the correct parts of the body and which encourage you to sit with a good posture. You should be comfortable, but not in a position which could potentially cause damage to your spine. Millions of working days are lost each year to back injuries and thus it is important for chairs to provide you with adequate back support. Back pain is the single biggest reason for people to take days off work every year, but with adequate seating and education we can significantly reduce this.

So what exactly should ergonomic office chairs do to make your sitting experience more comfortable? There are three main factors which help to make an office chair comfortable and supportive:

1. The natural ‘S’ shape of the spine should be maintained at all times without any muscular tension, and the load placed upon the spine should be minimised as much as possible.
2. Circulation to the thighs should not be restricted, particularly by the width of the chair.
3. The posture of the chair user should not require much muscular effort to maintain.

If these factors are not adhered to by a chair, the user can eventually end up with permanent back damage which could cause them problems for the rest of their lives. The user is responsible for how they sit, but ergonomic office chairs should do all it can to promote a good sitting technique

When looking at ergonomic office chairs, you should look out for certain features which will aid you in finding the most comfortable position to sit in. These should be adjusted to suit your needs. These include:

Seat Height: This is arguably the most important thing to alter when you get a new seat. Make sure that your feet are resting in the ground without putting pressure on the backs of your thighs. This could restrict blood supply to your lower legs and cause long term damage to them.

Backrest support: It is important that the backrest supports your mid to lower back and allows your arms to move freely. This is of great importance as it helps to maintain the natural curvature of your spine. The backrest should also tilt and offer some give as you lean back in order to allow you to take up a number of different postures. Failure to do this can cause constriction and reduce the blood supply to your muscles in your limbs.

Seat Depth: This is also an important factor to consider. Ergonomic office chairs should allow you to sit right at the back of your seat without crushing the backs of the knees against the surface. You must sit at the back of the chair in order to ensure your spine is correctly supported.

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