When it comes to modern office furniture, not all are made equal; finding the right chair takes some due diligence and research. Many people do not realize that they spend more time in their office chair than they do in their bed. It is therefore as important to find the right chair as it is to select the right bed. Choosing the proper chair can help reduce or prevent neck, back and leg pain while sitting, so the hours you spend sitting at your desk are more productive.
A well-designed chair should not only look good, it should also give the right support for your spine and back while promoting good posture. Looking and assessing various chair models on the market can be overwhelming, but understanding how the different parts of an office chair affect the body is important in helping you make the best choice.
Types of Office Chairs
Conventional Chairs. These are the types that come to mind when people think of office chairs. They may be ergonomic or non-ergonomic. These chairs are equipped with a seat and back, which are usually cushioned and covered with vinyl, fabric, or leather. There are also designs made of mesh. Some models come with headrests and armrest, while others have neither. They are mostly supported by a swivel base, four legs or casters.
Kneeling Chairs. Otherwise known as Balan’s chair, kneeling chairs put the user in a position that is similar to kneeling. This might appear like a weird way to sit while working at a desk, but this position has shown to reduce lower back strain and promote balanced spine alignment. This chair drops the thighs to an angle of 60 to 70 degrees from vertical, instead of 90 degrees when sitting on a normal office chair. One example is the Harold Knee Chair by EuroStyle.
Exercise Ball Chair. The exercise ball chair is another completely different type of office chair. It is a small ball that is large enough to support the user in any long term seated position. One major advantage of this type of office chair is that it promotes movement and active seating. Slouching your back is difficult on the exercise ball chair as the positioning needed to remain seating automatically improves posture. They come in various sizes to cater to different user heights.
Saddle Chairs. Sitting on a saddle chair is like being seated on a horse. Saddle chairs do not have back rests. The idea is to put the hips and knees in a 135-degree angle, as opposed to the 90-degree angle of conventional office chairs. Also, saddle chairs sits you between 8 to 12 inches higher, which keeps the spine in its natural S-shape, eliminating shoulder and back pain. Take note, though, that you will need to use a higher desk for this chair.
Recliner Chairs. For some users, sitting in a reclined position is the most comfortable for their backs. If you experience pain associated with degenerative disc disease or lumbar spinal stenosis often feel most comfortable in the reclining position with their feet proper up. For these people, this recliner chair may be the solution. Small tables that attach to the recliner chair are available. They swivel over the lap, so you can comfortably work on a laptop or do paperwork.
Features of Office Chairs
Backrest. Not all chairs have a backrest. But if it does, ensure that it can be adjusted to prevent discomfort when sitting for a long time. The backrest of an ergonomic office chair is mostly between 12 and 19 inches wide. If it is separate from the seat, ensure that it is adjustable in angle as well. Look for backrests that support the spine’s natural curve, giving special attention to lumbar support.
Chair Height. Do not overlook this seemingly insignificant feature of a chair, as users come in all shapes and sizes. The height of the chair should be easily adjustable. The easiest way to do this is with a pneumatic adjustment level located below the seat. A height between 16 and 21 inches off the floor is appropriate for most, although not all will fall within this range.
Seat. Look for a chair with enough width and depth to support any user comfortably, which is generally 17 to 20 inches wide. Depth is measured from the front to the back of the seat. It is important that the seat is deep enough that users can sit with their back against the backrest while leaving 2 to 4 inches between the front of the seat and the back of the knees.
Lumbar Support. Lumbar support is very important in an ergonomic office chair. The lumbar part of the spine has a natural inward curve, and sitting for long periods of time without support leads to slouching or hunching. A good ergonomic chair should have a proper fit, preferably one that is adjustable, that supports the inward curve of the lumbar region.
Armrests. Armrests are not exactly a necessity, but if a chair has them, make sure that the armrest are adjustable. Armrests should keep your arms at the same level as the desk to keep the body alignment at the desk. If the armrests are not adjustable, make sure that they can be removed if they are not at the correct height.
Stability. A good office chair should support the user’s weight while they are sitting upright or leaning back. Look for chairs that come with four-pronged bases with casters like the Raven and Black Deluxe Matrix Flex Visitors Chair With Casters by Office Star, which are more stable compared to those four-pronged varieties.
A good office chair is just like an efficient assistant. It offers great support throughout the day, even if they are not noticed. A comfortable office chairs makes it easy to do your job without causing stress or fatigue to the body. Before buying one, actually sit on different types and models to make sure that you have the right fit.