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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Ergonomic chairs: To keep work comfortable

Advocate Kazmi had never thought that the kind of trial work he did would ever let him feel the need for physical exercise. A very diligent lawyer, Advocate Kazmi was on his two feet for most of the day, inside the courtroom and also in his cabin. He preferred walking around every now and then and most of the people thought it was a healthy way to work, which it certainly was. Then one day Advocate Kazmi had a massive bout of stabbing back pain. In his opinion he was living a balanced life with sufficient amount of physical activity coupled with nutritious diet. Advocate Kazmi's daily schedule did have sufficient amount of physical activity, but much of that activity was related to work. Therefore, though he burnt enough calories, his body was still not powerful despite being relatively fit.

His back muscles and abdominal muscles were lean but not powerful enough to support his ageing backbone. What compounded the problem was his non-supportive chair that he never thought of changing. Now, a wrong chair could be the reason for so much of trouble never actually crossed Advocate Kazmi's mind until his doctor, during the course of examination, enquired about his office chair.

Advocate Kazmi was perplexed, to start with, for he had never heard a doctor ask about furniture. He tried smiling the question away, but the doctor looked quite serious about the question. He answered not one but several different questions about his office chair. And it was after his thorough physical examination and a comprehensive enquiry about his office chair that the doctor found the culprits - weak muscles and bad chair.

It took a little while for Advocate Kazmi to understand the place of his chair in the genesis of his back problem. Finally, the doctor prescribed a few medicines, strength-building exercises and a new, ergonomic chair.

Ergonomic chairs are designed for the purpose of maintaining your natural posture so that you do not suffer from health issues that stem from wrong sitting posture. So, if you have to spend long hours on the desk, ergonomic chairs could save you from a lot of future trouble.

One of the foremost benefits of ergonomic chairs is that they provide effective neck and back support . Anybody who has to work long hours sitting would know how uncomfortable could a strain in the back and the neck be. And if nothing is done about it, serious back problems might occur. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a suitable ergonomic chair.

Ergonomic office chairs have adjustable armrests, which makes working for long hours easy and comfortable. Your elbows, arms and shoulders are relaxed and with the swivel feature thrown in, the user can easily move around without having to stretch his or her arms and shoulders. Ergonomic chairs generally come with height adjustment mechanism, which makes it easy for all users to manage the height of the chair as per their particular requirements.

Ergonomic office chairs are not only beneficial for health but also enhance productivity because they are comfortable and do not cause fatigue when one works for long hours in one sitting position.

Now, it might seem an easy job to just go to the furniture market and get an ergonomic chair for yourself. The notion that buying an ergonomic chair is as easy as buying any other chair would evaporate the moment you set foot in the market. The kind of choices you have is quite astounding. One gets various options regarding size, style, and the material used. It is advisable to choose an ergonomic chair that is the most comfortable and fits well with your particular requirements. Do not go by the looks or what the salesman says. Try the chair out. Sit and try the movements you ordinarily undertake while working. This would ensure that you get the most suitable chair for yourself. People come in different sizes and their natural movements are quite different even when they perform very similar tasks, which is why it is important that you buy the chair that best suits you.

Take care that the width of the seat is no less than 17 inches or 43.18 cm, and the seat is sufficiently deep for you to sit with a relaxed back well-cushioned against the backrest. And when you sit back there should be sufficient space between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat. The backrest is ideal at around 12" (30.43 cm) to 19" (48.26 cm) in width. Better, try getting a chair with adjustable backrest in height and angle. Another important thing one should bear in mind while purchasing an ergonomic chair is that it must be easily adjustable. Many prefer pneumatic adjustment levers, which make it easier for one to adjust. The chair must be capable of up to 21" (40.64 cm) height adjustment from the ground, and it must let you place your feet flat on the ground beneath with your thighs horizontal to the floor.

Also, check if the back cushion on the chair has multiple depth settings. If the back cushion remains in the same position through out, it is not very ergonomic, which explains why most of the manufacturers of ergonomic chairs ensure that their product allows the user to adjust the depth, or tilt, of his or her back support cushion. Furthermore, you must look for the chair that has mid-back and upper-back support.

Another feature of a comfortable ergonomic chair is wheels together with the capacity to swivel, which prevents excessive stretching and twisting of the spine. The tilt mechanism in most of the ergonomic chairs lends optimum support to your body as you move and recline. Make sure that your desk and chair allow you to have your back slightly reclined while seated at your desk. This not only makes it more comfortable for one to work for long stretches of time at one go, but also makes one far less prone to backpain and also prevents one from falling prey to other backbone issues.

It is also important to note that it is worthwhile to spend a little more on a good ergonomic chair than to be saddled with a sub-standard product that might do more harm than good in the long run. A bit of research online and offline would give you enough information about ergonomic chairs, which would enable you to get the most suitable chair for yourself without wasting money on features that you would hardly press into use and without compromising on the basic benefits of owning and using an ergonomic chair.


Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical opinion or advice

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