Wrong! When you consider that for many working Vancouverites, more hours of the day are spent sitting in an office chair than sleeping in bed each night, a proper chair can be an invaluable asset to your comfort and health. While we are not necessarily suggesting that you go spend thousands of dollars on a new office chair, we do have a few recommendations in regards to the support that your chair should provide.
Before we explain the key features we look for in an office chair, a quick note - as we've mentioned before, prolonged periods of sitting are never ideal, and so finding ways to incorporate movement and new postures into your work day is a fantastic idea, regardless of the price tag on your office chair. If you are interested in learning more about the various consequences sitting has on our health, see the poster below (courtesy of the Washington Post). Read on to learn what our physiotherapists here at Granville Physio have to say about purchasing an office chair, or click here to book in today with James Rowan, Damien Wild, or Jim Bowie!
Key Features of an Effective office chair
First and foremost, we believe that a pneumatic seat-height adjustment is by far the most important feature that your office chair should offer. Adjustable seat height ensures that:
- Feet are fully supported by the floor
- Forearms extend straight out from elbows to work surface
- There is the ability to raise the seat and use a footrest, to accommodate desks that are too high for the worker
- Hunching or straining to view the workstation at a proper height is avoided
Lastly, having the ability to tilt the chair backwards reduces the pressure in your back and is a great option for changing your posture, particularly if you are not typing or mousing.
What about using an Exercise Ball?
- You are more likely to slouch
- Sitting on a ball for long periods of time is not sustainable, and chances are your posture will deteriorate over the course of your work day
- They increase pressure on your spine
- Sitting on a ball even with good posture will result in a greater load on your discs when compared to having your back against a back rest particularly if you tilt the chair back
- They are not customizable
- There is no ability to adjust height, which creates many of the same problems that we have addressed above
Our Final Thoughts on Office Chairs
Despite your chair selection, we always recommend moving throughout your work day. Get rid of your exercise ball seat, and instead take five minutes periodically to incorporate stretches or office-friendly exercises into your day (can link to "posture perfect" blog once it is posted). You will be more productive, and your body will thank you for it! Wherever possible, we strongly recommend establishing a sit-stand office design, as this allows you to alternate between sitting and standing as you work.
Investing in a high quality office chair will increase your comfort and productivity at the office, and will reduce the negative health impacts that prolonged periods of sitting have on the body. For the sake of your long-term health and well-being, we strongly recommend that you assess your current office structure, and consider whether or not your chair is giving you the support that you deserve! As always, if you would like more information, or have questions regarding your workplace routine, our physiotherapists are here to help. Click here to book in with James Rowan, Damien Wild, or Jim Bowie today!
- Granville Physio