Finding the right ergonomic chair for you may seem like a daunting task at first. Where do you start? Which one is the best? What to look for in a good chair? Does it need arm rests?
The main thing to look for is adjustability; the more you can change it, the better you can customise it to suit your needs.
So, before you go and buy a $2000 ergonomic chair that promises “instant pain relief”, have a look at these simple points to determine what characteristics make a good office chair.
Remember – one size does not fit all! Try before you buy.
Characteristics of a good ergonomic chair:
// Adjustable height:
Some of us are tall, and others not so tall. It is imperative to have a chair that can be adjusted to accommodate your measurements. To set up the chair to the correct height:
a) your hip and knees must be at a 90-100 degrees angle and;
b) your feet must be flat on the floor (If you have shorter legs, consider getting a foot stool)
// Seat depth:
When you sit right back into the chair, there should be at least 3-4 fingers gap between the edge of your seat and the back of your knee crease.
// Seat tilt:
The seat of the chair should be flat or tilted slightly forward which will promote the neutral position of the pelvis.
// Adjustable back rest:
The back rest should be fixed at a 90-100 degree angle to the seat. It should also be able to recline to 120-130 degrees to allow the user to alleviate any pressure on the lower back when required.
// Adjustable lumbar support:
Maintaining the natural arch in your lower back protects you from common disorders such as disc degeneration, muscle strains, joint stiffness etc. A good lumbar support should mould to your lower back and reinforce your natural lumbar arch.
// Arm rests:
To arm rest or not to arm rest? That is the question. I personally feel you should get rid of your arm rests because they often prevent you from getting close enough to the desk. This can promote a sub-optimal posture as you move forward in your chair to get closer to the desk.
If you set up the rest of your workstation correctly to maintain optimal posture, there is no need for arm rests to support your arms in the first place.
If you need to move short distances around your workstation, getting a chair with a swivel and wheels will make moving around easier, which is very important in preventing repetitive strain injuries from leaning over and reaching.
If the flooring material makes it difficult to wheel your chair around, consider using a plastic chair mat.
// Seat cushioning:
The padding on the seat cover and back rest should be thick enough to support sitting for prolonged periods of time. If it doesn’t feel comfortable the minute you sit in it, it definitely won’t be after a few hours.
.. still not sure how to pick a good chair?
Just try it out.
If it doesn’t feel good, then it doesn’t feel good.
Move on to the next one.
******* BONUS Information: ******
Now that you know what to look for in a good office chair, make sure you know how to set your office desk correctly.
What to look for in a desk:
In terms of the ergonomic appeal of a computer desk, one should consider the following points.
// Adjustable height:
With your seat set up correctly, the height of the desk should be at a level where the keyboard and mouse would be positioned at elbow height when you are seated.
// Width of table:
There should be ample space for all of your desktop equipment to be placed and accessed easily. A crowded desk top may compromise your ideal posture.
// Adjustable keyboard/mouse table:
This allows for the keyboard and mouse to be located at an appropriate level in relation to your body. If you prefer the table height a bit higher, this may be a more viable option for you.
// Leg room:
It may sound straight forward, but there should be ample room for your legs to fit underneath the desk. Your legs should not touch any part of the desk as this will alter your posture.
There should be enough room to allow you to stretch your legs out when necessary.
I have covered this post plus plenty more in my FREE ebook: How to set up your workstation. Make sure you go check it out!
Happy sitting! (in moderation, of course…)