Ergonomic office chairs - are they really worthwhile or just another passing health craze? There's really no reason to be sceptical of the benefits of ergonomic chairs anymore - scientific research shows that ergonomic furniture can have huge benefits for health, happiness and productivity. If you want to both enjoy your work more and get more done, an ergonomically designed office chair may be exactly what you need.
The whole idea behind ergonomics is that the things we use should be designed to work with the natural functions and movement of the human body - rather than against it. Everyone owns at least object that makes them wonder, 'Who designed this thing, and what were they thinking?' It's not so common that we ask this question about office chairs, because we tend to take the standard office chair design for granted. But there are many benefits to be had from using an office chair designed to fit the natural tendencies of your body.
For starters, most office chairs but an unnatural amount of pressure on the lower back and contribute to a 'slumped forward' posture, as we sit typing with our shoulders and head forward. This posture, held for eight hours a day, almost inevitably leads to tension and health problems.
Good ergonomic chairs are designed so that you can sit easily and comfortably in a healthy, upright posture. They also include adjustable arm rests at the right level so you don't have to hunch your shoulders up when you're not using your hands. Arm rests placed at the right height help release tightness throughout the shoulders and neck, relieving stiffness and even helping you avoid headaches caused by muscle tension.
Buying an ergonomic office chair can be an intimidating process, especially if you've never bought one before. Use the following tips to make sure you're asking the right questions and assessing the right features and details before you buy.
Design and materials are amongst the first things to look at. When considering design, ask yourself which parts of the body does the chair support? How many adjustable parts does it have - can it be adjusted higher or lower, are the arm rests and headrest adjustable? Does it have good lumbar support? Obviously, your own needs and any back problems you may have will play a big part here - someone with lower back pain may need a different design than someone with tension through their neck and shoulders.
Remember that more moving parts doesn't necessarily make a better chair. Part of the goal of good ergonomic design is to come up with products that work with the body without using a lot of materials. Companies like Herman Miller are good at getting the most out of their materials and emphasizing the use of recyclable parts.
Durability is another factor you want to examine. Some brands, such as Ironhorse, offer heavy duty chairs built to hold a lot of weight and last the test of time. There's nothing worse than ordering a chair online only to have it arrive and find it's not sturdy enough to hold your weight. Always find out what the recommended weight capacity is for the chair before you order.
Herman Miller Aeron chairs are amongst some of the best-known ergonomic office chairs. While at first they may resemble a 'normal' office chair, Herman Miller's products contain a range of unique materials and design features that make them some of the most comfortable and back-friendly office chairs available.
Exercise ball ergonomic chairs take a slightly different approach to ergonomic, incorporating inflatable exercise balls into a standard office chair. This forces you to engage important core muscles, keeping your spine upright and helping you rebuild damaged tissue and build a stronger body in general. Aeromat is the best company to look at for office ball chairs.
RECARO is a brand of heavy duty ergonomic office chairs with models that range from fairly basic computer chairs through to executive products. This is a high-tech line of chairs which incorporates some of the same technology used in racing car seats. The chairs are designed to preserve the natural curve of your back so you can sit comfortably for long periods without any strain.
Ironhorse is another high-end producer of ergonomic office chairs. Like RECARO, Ironhorse chairs are built to go the distance and without plenty of weight and usage of a period of many years. They offer several Series, from the 750 Series through to the 5000 Series, which gives customers a wide selection between low-priced, basic options and the top-end, more expensive models that 'do it all.' If you're looking for a chair built to hold up to 400 pounds comfortably, Ironhorse may be the best brand for you.
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