How to Choose an Ergonomic Chair?
What is Ergonomics?
Although working in an office may seem much safer than being a welder or an electrical engineer, the reality is that sitting in front of a computer for the majority of the day can lead to musculoskeletal damage. Stiffness, back pain, or neck pain can develop after years of continuous desk work. People have recently become more conscious of the importance of designing work tools as well as furniture which are better adapted to the specific nature of every person and his or her profession.
Ergonomics is an applied science that enhances the design of tools, furniture and many other things so that people can use them in a more efficient, safe and comfortable manner.
What Makes a Chair Ergonomic?
Adjustability is one of the most important characteristics of an ergonomic chair.
Every person has his or her unique body size. Obviously, regular one-size chair can’t fit every person’s body shape. The reason why an ergonomic chair can reduce musculoskeletal injuries is that the chair’s height, backrest, armrest and even its seat depth are all adjustable. With proper adjustments, individuals can thus find the best position where one’s body is comfortably supported.
Besides, comfortable seat padding along with a lightly scooped seat shape provides more support for the body and reduce pressure produced on the knees.
5 Steps to Choosing a Proper Ergonomic Chair
Test the adjustability of the chair.
Many parts of an ergonomic chair are supposed to be adjustable.
- Chair height should be adjustable between 15 to 22 inches in order to accommodate most people of different heights and sizes. Tall people should check for the maximum seat height that can be adjusted before making a decision on which office chair to purchase.
- The armrest should also be adjustable so that the arms and elbows can be even to the desk. This helps reduce fatigue of the arms when you are typing or playing video games in front of a computer for prolonged hours.
- The backrest should be able to be adjusted and locked to a comfortable reclined position, which can help shift some of the weight to the backrest and reduce the pressure on the lower back.
Check the back and lumbar support.
- Sufficient back support and lumbar support are crucial to relieve back and lumbar muscles’ stiffness or pain.
- A good backrest is slightly curved and should be adjustable to a person’s unique back shape.
- The lumbar support should be able to move upwards or downwards to fit not only your body shape but also your changing positions.
Check the seat padding.
The seat is where you will sit for long hours of work. The quality of the seat padding will without any doubt play an essential role in the overall comfort level of an ergonomic chair. Make sure that the chair is padded with good quality material. This can not only ensure the sitting comfort but can also prolong the life of the chair, since poor quality padding can be deformed quite quickly.
Measure the seat size.
Avoid seats that are too large or too small. What you need is a seat size that’s just the right size and can provide adequate sitting room without compromising on side support. One inch wider than the user’s hips should be the ideal size of the seat.
Examine the chair’s manufacturing details.
Other manufacturing details can greatly affect the utility of an ergonomic chair, such as the upholstery. Mesh fabric is more breathable and looks good in a modern office environment. A 5-star base with carpet casters moves well on the floor. A headrest is not compulsory for an ergonomic chair. But if the chair comes with this additional feature, make sure that it is also adjustable and can rightly fit your body.