The Ergonomics of your Office Chair

The Ergonomics of your Office Chair

Maintaining not only a proper posture but also having your office furniture setup is the only way to ensure you are comfortable. This also assures you can maximize the time and effort necessary to get things done, from work to studies, or just surfing the web.

Take into consideration the following steps to ensure both your comfort and good health so you don’t run into common neck, back, and arm problems:

1) Discover the right way to sit – how you sit in your office chair makes all the difference in comfort and maintaining good posture. If your back and neck ache after sitting at the computer it’s not a good sign, and probably means you can improve the way you sit and feel. If you put your hands out in front of you they should just touch the computer screen. Your feet should always remain planted on the ground, not behind you or folded up. Keep your back arched straight, and ensure your not leaning or bending to view and use your computer. Sometimes it’s necessary to modify the position of your laptop or PC screen, or raise the keyboard and mouse to a higher position or lower them.

2) How to position your screens – it’s critical that your back touches the back front of your office chair. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle or less, and if not, modify your screen position. Do not use keyboard legs that come with them to raise it, it’s not only uncomfortable but is poor for your posture. Certain office furniture is designed with more ergonomic parts, but if not, consider available accessories at furniture stores.

3) Adjust your chair accordingly- sit in a way that your tailbone is perked a little, and allow a slight curve in your vertebrae. If your lumbar is not pointed towards your stomach it’s likely you’ll get sore, and cause strains and muscle pulling to your back and neck over time. Most office chairs are designed to raise and lower, which can be especially useful for improving your posture and position. Some of the more sophisticated (expensive if not second hand) office chairs are designed with hydraulics and screws that can be tightened to improve arch, position, and flexibility when using.

4) Keep your body active and stretch – every hour or less you should stand up from your computer chair, stop what you’re doing, and stretch-out. Also, it’s helpful to go for a walk or move to a different place and position that’s more comfortable and good for your posture. It can be helpful to use a back brace when sitting, but most people do not want to be inconvenienced by this. Others may find applying Icy Hot or Tiger Balm to places on their back and neck to also be useful. Ultimately, no piece of office furniture is designed to be sat on all day without repercussions, which is why it’s so important to get up, take breaks, and stretch.

If you walk away today with one new piece of knowledge it’s to not only take better care of your back but to exercise mindfulness. Listen to your body, sit in a position that feels right for you, but don’t roll back your shoulders or allow your body to sit any way that you wouldn’t in a chair.

Image credit: Goran Bogicevic

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