Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Properly Use Ergonomic Office Chairs

The years of study and smart design that goes into crafting ergonomic furniture benefits businesses by increasing productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Few things are so comfortable and versatile as an ergonomic office chair though. As the oldest recipient of extensive ergonomic study, office chairs have drastically improved over the course of many years and are now able to relieve all sorts of common office pains. However, many users do not realize that these chairs, while highly comfortable in multiple positions, are in fact precision instruments. In order to maximize comfort and alleviate pain, they need to be properly used. Here's a few tips on how to enhance your ergonomic experience!

Remember Geometry Class

Don't worry, there's no formulas to memorize here. Ergonomic design is just aided by proper posture. While most ergonomic office chairs are predesigned to subtly improve posture in order to alleviate pain, users can always help things along by remembering to shift the way they sit. Proper posture is based on a series of right angles. In order to enhance the effects of your office chair, make sure you sit with your back straight, at a right angle to your legs. Scoot as closely comfortable to your desk as you can and check if your arms form right angles as well when you type. If not, adjust the height and armrests of your chair until they do. Also, try to keep your legs at 90-degree angles as well. Those with poor circulation or knee joint pain however, may angle tilt their seats to degrees greater than 90, or opt for a chair with a waterfall seat instead. Over time, when consciously corrected repetitively, keeping this improved posture will relieve most or all of a user's back pain, joint pain, strain, and discomfort!

Get Your Head Out of the Clouds

What we mean by this is don't sit too high. One critical mistake most office chair users make is adjusting their chair so that they must hunch over in order to type or see a keyboard. This is detrimental to the spine because it forces all of your weight down on one set of bones. The human body is really better designed to stand, not to sit, and standing naturally straightens and alleviates stress on the spine. People who stand more tend to have better posture and less back pain because their legs and abdominal muscles help to support the weight of the body. However, if you'd rather not purchase ergonomic desks with height adjustment for standing, adjusting the height of chairs can help. Remember the right angle rules listed above, and keep your back as straight as possible.

Keep Your Feet on the Ground

Global Obusforme Footrest

If your desk or chair is too high that your feet hover over the ground, you are putting yourself at serious risk for foot and joint pain. Even if the thighs are heavier than the lower part of the leg, just letting them dangle freely is terrible for circulation. When the feet aren't resting on the ground, it puts stress on the knees, which now bear all the weight of the rest of the leg. This contributes to poor circulation, which can cause terrible joint pain and potential blood clots over time in those with the propensity for it. In athletes, dangling feet can weaken the achilles tendon, putting them at risk. Instead of leaving legs hanging, foot rests with adjustability can relieve the majority of these problems. Most can tilt to help stretch the achilles tendon and nearly all are height adjustable to better support the leg.

Eyes on the Computer

Those that work with computers all day may notice an uncomfortable strain in their necks. This could be because your computer is not directly in front of you. Few people understand that neck vertebrae are attached to and considered part of the spine. When the computer screen is not directly in front of the user, and that person must keep their head turned to the same side day after day, it can alter the muscles that are attached to the vertebrae, making them uneven. In extreme cases, the painful effect can be felt throughout the entire upper back. If you experience neck pain because of your computer screen's placement or height, adjustable monitor arms for computers are great ways of remedying the problem. Just mount one to a wall or desk, attack the computer, and adjust the screen until it's centered in front of your face.

Consider Your Surroundings

When buying an office chair for your workplace, it is important to consider your environment. Is your workplace a bit too hot for you? To cold? Believe it or not, ergonomics can remedy this as well. Chairs for those with extreme back pain exist that have electric heaters built into the surface, but they're also wonderful for those working in cold environments. Far-infared heat keeps the user nice and toasty while simultaneously penetrating through tissue to loosen tight muscles and relieve pain. On the opposite end of the spectrum, breathable mesh chairs with ergonomics allow air flow to reach the occupant, effectively cooling them. The fabric can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth or wipe, so mesh chairs are incredibly sanitary, which is one reason why comfortable mesh chairs for guest use are so common in waiting areas. Because ergonomic furniture is so versatile, there is always a chair or desk that is optimally suited for a particular purpose. Choosing what is best for you and your environment will bring harmony to your workspace.

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