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The Ultimate Ergonomic Office Chair
This entry was posted on March 25, 2011.
So you are on a quest to find the ultimate ergonomic office chair, one that is going to keep you sitting comfortably throughout the day while keeping those unnecessary aches and pains away. Does such a chair even exist? Your first thought might be to get in your car and drive to the nearest Staples to find your new ergonomic chair, but then you remember that they only carry cheap office chairs that are not designed for all day sitting. Your next thought then may be to visit an online office chair retailer, but you are not sure where to even begin looking with the wide selection of chairs to choose from. If you are looking for the one universal ergonomic office chair that works for everyone, think again, because such a chair does not exist. To find the ultimate ergonomic office chair for yourself, you need to first figure out what is going to work best for your body and your needs rather than purchasing a chair just because everyone else has it or you have heard it is popular.
The first step towards finding your ultimate ergonomic office chair is to figure out the dimensions needed to accommodate your body size. First, determine the seat depth(length of the seat) that will be required for your new chair. This is a crucial step because a chair that is too long will put pressure on the back of your knees and a chair that is too short may not fully support your legs. A good way to determine your ideal seat depth is to turn towards your current office chair; if your current seat depth already works for you then make sure your new chair will have the same seat measurements. If it is too long, look for a chair with a smaller seat depth and vice versa if your chair's seat is too short. If you prefer a softer sit while working look for a chair that offers seat foam upgrades such as a gel seat or triple density foam otherwise some chairs come standard with an extra thick seat.
Next you will need to figure out the seat height range necessary for you to be able to keep your feet flat on the floor while working(or on a foot rest) and work with your height. You will also need to take into consideration the height of your desk to ensure your chair will fit underneath your desk if needed, especially if you would like a chair with armrests. Most standard desks are 29" measured from the floor to the top of the desk, however some have higher workstations or adjustable desks that can be lowered and raised if needed. If you are a shorter individual a standard cylinder that comes with most office chairs may be too tall for you causing your legs to be bent at an awkward angle. The same can be said for taller individuals who need a longer cylinder and higher seat height adjustment range. Certain specialty ergonomic office chairs offer different cylinder size options to accommodate individuals of any height from children 4' tall to adults that are 6'8".
Having the right back height for your office chair can be of particular importance for those who suffer from back pain and even for those who want to avoid back pain. A good way to determine the back height that will be needed for your chair is to look at your current office chair. If you currently suffer from upper back you will want to look for a chair that's back will come up high enough to support your shoulder blades. Have a friend measure your back in its entirety from the top of the seat on your current office chair up to your shoulder blades to calculate how tall you will need your back rest to be. If you experience neck pain look for a chair that comes with an adjustable headrest. Again you will need to measure your back to ensure you do not pick a chair that has a back that is too high or too low, otherwise your headrest may end up turning out to be detrimental rather than helpful. Many people suffer from lower back pain from having a chair that does not have proper lumbar support which is why it is crucial to find a chair that offers built-in lumbar support, adjustable lumbar support, or air lumbar support to prevent lower back pain.
The last factor to consider is how adjustable you will need your ultimate ergonomic chair to be. If you work for more 8 or more hours a day, you will likely need a highly adjustable chair that allows you to recline throughout the day with tilt lock and tilt tension control(allows the user to choose the amount of tension needed to recline back in their chair and to lock their chair in the upright position when typing then unlock when recline is desired). If you are a taller or shorter individual, it may be beneficial to have a seat slider adjustment that allows you to determine make your chair's seat depth either longer or shorter. If most of your day is spent hunched over typing it would be beneficial to have a chair with back and seat angle adjustment to allow you to lean your back rest and seat forward while doing extensive typing. A chair with an adjustable back rest can benefit just about anyone if the chair comes with built-in back support, then the individual using the chair can adjust the back to reach their lumbar region rather than having a chair that pre-determines it for you and risking having it not fit your back properly. The level of adjustability need will vary amongst individuals and will require some thinking to decide which adjustments are absolutely necessary and which you may be able to live without.
A new ergonomic chair does not come at a cheap price, which is why you need to do your research and make sure that you know exactly what you need to keep you sitting comfortably. Make sure to look at the chair's warranty, if the chair is warranted for only a few years this is a good indication of how long the chair will last you. Contrarily, if a chair has a ten year or lifetime guarantee this is a good indication that the chair is built to last and withstand tough working conditions. You may need to put a little extra money than you hoped to get your ultimate ergonomic chair but in the long run it will save you from visits to the chiropractor, money spent on having to replace a bad chair, and aches and pains caused by sitting in a poorly designed chairs.