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Ergonomic Work Chair: Know Before You Buy

Aug 19, 2008
Everyone knows that an ergonomic work chair is better for you. When you go out to get a new office chair, you make sure you look for something with good ergonomics. We have been trained well at the right term, but how many of you actually know what ergonomic is and means, and what you should even be looking for in an ergonomic chair?

What is happening now is that stores and manufacturers are starting to put the word ergonomic in front of every chair they sell, whether it has anything to do with ergonomics or not. Since savvy manufacturers know that is what the consumer is now looking for, they are quick to put that on product in order to sell. There is more to ergonomics than a little added cushioning in the seat. Don't become another shopping statistic. Learn more about what you should be looking for, and get what you pay for.

What is an Ergonomic Chair?

Ergonomics is the study of equipment designed with humans in mind, meant to reduce operator fatigue and discomfort. Specifically, an ergonomic chair should be highly adjustable, including not just a knob for lowering and raising the chair but adjustability in the back tilt and the height of the arm rests. An ergonomic chair should also have a sturdy frame (avoid plastic), a great deal of support, especially in the lumbar region, and padding that has some give and supports your body without losing shape. The design of the ergonomic chair should be such that it can adjust and conform to the size and shape of your body, in essence creating a custom chair just for you.

Real ergonomic chairs cost hundreds of dollars, and go up into the thousands. Look for manufacturers that specialize in ergonomics and are known for producing quality chairs. Examples are Herman Miller, Neutral Posture, and BodyBilt. Avoid gimmicky chairs (such as kneeling chairs and ball chairs) unless you have actually had the opportunity to try one and feel it's a good fit for your body. Remember, the chair that is comfortable when you first sit in it may not remain so after several hours.

Look for information on the user manual that explains the features of the chair. When you sit in it and make the adjustments to fit your body, you should feel support in some key areas. First, your lower back should feel very well supported. The back rest of the chair should be high enough to support your shoulders.

When you rest your arms on the arm rests, they should be at a height that you do not have to crunch up your shoulders causing stress to your neck and shoulder area.

You should be able to plant your feet evenly and flatly on the ground while your legs should bend at the knee, and not dangle, cutting off circulation. The seat area should also come out just enough to get to the back side of your knees with out cutting into the circulation.

Air flow is important. You will find that the better chairs also have designs that allow for air to get completely around your body, creating an even flow and wisking away heat and moisture.

Finally, you should be able to sit at your work station and have your arms naturally rest on the table or keyboard without stressing or scrunching up your shoulders.

Why and When Should You Consider Buying an Ergonomic Chair?

An ergonomic chair promotes good posture, reduces the fatigue that comes with sitting in one position for a protracted period of time, and it can even reduce the likelihood of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries (many of these hand and wrist injuries start with poor posture at the computer).

Anybody who spends more than an hour a day at the computer should consider buying a good ergonomic chair. If you work 8 hours a day or more at the computer, you should definitely have a good ergonomic chair. Think about it like your bed. You'll pay for a good mattress because you sleep, hopefully, 6-8 hours a day. Same thing goes for your work chair.
About the Author
Matt loves his Ergonomic Work Chair. For more information on a cheap Herman Miller Aeron Chairvisit getmychair.com
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