Ergonomics is the science of designing products that are optimised for people to use. An ergonomic chair is designed to maximise productivity by reducing operator tiredness and discomfort. Many commercial offices and educational facilities use ergonomic chairs due to the injuries associated with prolonged computer use.
There are a lot of different ergonomic office chairs out there. However, when you are looking for one you should make sure you look for some important features. It will vary from chair to chair so you need to look out for features that will work best for your working environment. If you already have problems with back pain, there may be a chair that suits your body better than others.
A good ergonomic chair supports your back, arms, buttocks, and legs. It can also improve your posture, reduce contact stress, and reduce uncomfortable exertion. So what are the feature benefits that an ergonomic chair should have?
1. Height: Your chair should be easily adjustable and at least 40cms off the floor to ensure you can place your feet flat on the ground. This prevents you from slouching and generally improving your posture.
2. Backrest: The backrest of your chair should be around 30-50cms wide with special attention paid to proper lumbar support. It should feel natural to the curve of your spin and have adjustable angles so you can rest comfortably without feeling rigid.
3. Armrests: While not all chairs come with armrests you can consider them for a more comfortable position for your arms and shoulders to rest, as opposed to leaning on your desk.
4. Seat depth and width: The depth of your chair is really important as it stops you from leaning forward and thus making the backrest obsolete. It should not be too long. The width of a chair is typically 45-50cms wide.
5. Lumbar support: Lower back pain is a big issue for many office workers. An ergonomic office chair should have lumbar adjustments so that you can get a proper fit for the inward curve of your lower back. This will reduce straining spinal structures and bad posture.
6. Padding and material: A good chair will have plenty of padding so you can sit comfortably for an extended amount of time. The material should be breathable as well.
7. Swivel and wheels: While it may not be necessary for everyone to have these features, it does help to reduce straining and make it easier to move around your workspace.
Now that you know what to look for in a good ergonomic chair you can go out and find what best suits you. Remember that looks aren’t everything – it’s all about comfort. There are also some alternatives to the traditional office chair such as the Bambach saddle ergonomic chair, which is useful for people who suffer from lower back issues. Another option is a kneeling chair, such as the Buro Knee chair, which is designed without a backrest to encourage good posture and allow you to slide your hips forward for a straighter back, neck, and shoulder alignment. Whatever you decide, remember that while an ergonomic chair helps you still need to take regular breaks when working.
If you already experience back pain, you may want to read our article about desk chair back pain relief guide.