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How to choose an office chair


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If your workday consists of many hours of sitting whether behind your keyboard, talking on the phone and just meeting with clients and coworkers, your back, neck and shoulders will suffer if your chair is not suitable.

Like buying a new motor vehicle the most important part of the process in choosing a new office chair is the ‘test drive’ to make sure that the new chair adjusts properly for your height and body weight. You are after all going to be spending a lot of time sitting in that chair!

Research has shown that there are certain factors that contribute to maximum comfort and safety in office chairs.

Height: As it is important to sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor, a chair with gas-lift height controls will allow you to adjust the height for your particular leg length.

The Seat: A chair seat has to be comfortable for a long period of time. Ensure that the seat has enough hard wearing foam padding to reduce stress on your butt, hips and thighs. It should be wide enough to provide a little space on either side of your body. Some types of seat contours can alleviate pressure on the back of the thighs. If your chair has seat depth controls, you should look to adjust the front edge of the chair so it is 5 – 8 cm from the back of your knees. If the back of your legs do touch the edge of the seat, you will have difficulty leaning against the chair’s back support.

The Backrest: Look for a chair that has an adjustable back support that raises or lowers to a height that will support the curve in the small of your back. Adequate lumbar support is essential if you are to avoid stress on your spine. A chair’s backrest should also be slightly curved to follow the natural contours of your spine. Ideally you should be able to adjust the tilt of the seat up and down independent of the back support. Reclining rests the back muscles, while a forward tilt encourages good back posture and takes the stress off the muscles and discs of the spine. Controlling the tilt tension will also allow you to adjust for varying body weights and lets the chair rock or tilt with the correct amount of resistance.

Armrests: Well-cushioned arms that adjust in height and width can help you maintain straight wrist posture for computer work, avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome and reducing sore muscles in the neck, shoulders and back. Armrests that are too high will not allow you to relax your shoulders, while armrests that are too long can prevent you from getting close enough to your desk and may cause back discomfort. Armrests spaced too wide apart will make your elbows stick out from your body in an uncomfortable way.

Health and Safety: Always look for durable construction that has been tested and certified. The best chairs have caster wheels that let the chair move easily on the floor, and a five-point base that provides stability and minimizes the chance of tipping the chair over. Adjustment controls should be easy to operate from a seated position and not require forceful hand movements. Office chairs come in vinyl, leather, and cloth. Cloth upholstery isn't as easy to clean as vinyl, and cloth-covered foam may harbor dust mites. However, vinyl or leather coverings don't breathe as easily as cloth, which may cause discomfort after prolonged sitting.

And finally, remember to get off your butt once an hour for a good stretch. Your body will thank you!

Date Posted: 2007-04-15
Posted By: Decor and Furniture
Listed under these Business Listing Categories: Manufacturing,

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