What Does Ergonomic Chair Mean?
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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ergonomics, also known as human engineering or biotechnology, is a type of applied science that is based on the design and arrangement of “things people use” so that those people and things “interact most efficiently and safely.” This term may also be used to describe the characteristics and design of an object as a result of the use of ergonomic science. Ergonomic furniture is designed to keep people comfortable and safe as they work, helping office worker avoid stress-related injuries on the job.
Having an ergonomic office chair is the most important piece of furniture for a comfortable workplace. Ergonomic chairs are designed to conform to a wide range of individuals, power there are no guarantees that every component will fit perfectly. For example, for a short and slim person, a chair could be too high and the arm rests too far apart. Or consider that chairs may not arrange well at the workstation. A chair becomes ergonomic only when it specifically fits a person’s body dimensions, his or her particular work area, and the tasks that they perform in that area.
Why the Right Chair is Important?
In modern industrialized countries, many people sit for more than 8 hours a day. They sit while having breakfast, while riding in cars or buses, in classrooms, in meetings, in offices, during dinner, and at home while watching television. Many factory jobs also require sitting to operate machinery. Although sitting requires less physical effort than standing or walking, it puts a lot of stress on lumbar area, and having poor posture can contribute to long-lasting pain and health issues.
Combined effects of this sedentary lifestyle and a job that requires sitting can further exasperate the problems. Selecting the right chair is a critical step in preventing physical health problems in people who are required to work in a sitting position. With the ergonomics approach, sitting is viewed as a specific, specialized activity that is influenced by the working environment. Consider these concepts:
- One chair does not fit everyone, so an individual’s body dimensions should be considered, including body height, and even weight.
- The optimal seat height is about one-quarter of the total body height. This is only a rule of thumb since the torso-to-leg ratio can vary widely.
- There is no chair suitable for every activity. For example, there are different chair requirements for a dentist’s chair versus an industrial chair.
- Consider the maintenance and repair costs. Check with the manufacturer for items to inspect for and how often inspection should be done, and if there is a warranty – a good ergonomic chair should have a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Here are some features of a good ergonomic chair that should be mandatory:
- Seat Height Adjustment-The height needs to be adjustable so your knees are a little lower than your hips with your feet resting flat on the floor.
- Back Rest Height Adjustment- The back of the chair should be adjustable in height so the back cushion provides optimal support.
- Seat Slider Adjustment- Being able to adjust the depth of your seat so there is 1-4 inches between the seat’s front edge and the back of your knee to allow leg support and good blood flow through the legs.
- Swivel Base- If the chair turns or swivels while seated.
- Back Angle Adjustment- Fine-tuning the chair’s back for optimum comfort.
- Back Tilt Tension Adjustment- Adjusting the pressure needed for rocking back in chair.
- Arm Support Adjustment- The ability to adjust the arms in both height and width.
- Quality Casters- When sitting down and getting up from the chair, your body weight is supported by one or two casters. Poorly built casters will break down over time.
- Stable Wheel Base- Having a minimum of five-spoke caster base.
- Lumbar Support – Needs to be adjustable for correct positioning, by changing the back chair height. Some are also pressure adjustable.
- Headrest Adjustment- If there is a headrest, it needs to be properly adjustable.
- Having a chair that has these crucial ergonomic features is inherent to your overall long-term comfort and health.
Traditional chairs may be one of the reasons why people tend to have an incorrect posture while sitting at their desk. An ergonomic chair takes these problems into consideration. It has all the necessary features including head rest and back rest that support your posture while sitting. Moreover, you can adjust the height to sit with your feet flat on the floor, knees at an angle of 90 degrees to the floor and parallel to the hips. These corrections automatically help you to improve your posture.
Six Benefits to Having an Ergonomic Chair
1. It supports your posture: An ergonomic chair has all the necessary features of optimum comfort, including head rest and back rest that help support your posture. In addition, you should adjust the height to sit with your feet flat on the floor, knees at an angle of 90 degrees to the floor and parallel to the hips.
2. It is more comfortable: Ergonomic chairs are user-friendly and fully-adjustable, so they are more comfortable than normal chairs.
3. It reduces the risk of neck problems: Without a neck support for a long time while sitting, you’ll develop stiffness in your neck and shoulder region, which can lead to health issues like cervical spondylosis. Ergonomic chairs have a headrest that supports your head and neck, which is great for people who spend a lot of time on the phone, for example.
4. It reduces the risk of back pain: Ergonomic chairs are high enough to support the entire back, and come with a back support feature. Some ergonomic chairs come with a reclining function.
5. It reduces pressure on your hips: An ergonomic chair has a good seat depth that measures two to four inches from the back of your knees, supporting the hips and buttocks.
6. It makes working easy: Besides all the other accommodating and adjustable features, ergonomic chairs also have a swivel feature that enables the user to move around without having to get up and stretch out several times. Personal preference is essential to the process of selecting a chair. The person picking out the chair should be the person who will inevitably be doing the most sitting in the chair. Ideally, they should be trying out the chair in the actual work environment to understand best how it will function in their workspace.
A well-designed chair will allow the person to sit in a balanced position. Buying an ergonomic chair is a good start toward an optimum sitting experience, but it will not solve all the problems. It is also important to practice good posture. Also, remember that there are several elements to a great functioning chair in the workstation, not just the seat itself. All other elements such as the footrest (if needed), work surface, document holders, task lighting and so on need to be flexible and adjustable.