The Science Behind Ergonomic Chairs & How They Benefit Your Health
Our most valuable time is spent sitting in chairs, so it’s crucial to invest in one that enables you to enjoy that time comfortably and safely. Investing in ergonomic chairs will benefit your health, especially if you are sitting on a chair for prolonged periods of time.
The dangers of sedentary work
There’s evidence supporting the harmful effects sedentary work has on mental health, and according to Safe Work Australia, WMSDs (work-related musculoskeletal disorders) are the Australian workforce's leading WHS (work health and safety) problem.
Fortunately, the growing number of cases is proportional to the body of scientific literature and studies that manufacturers use to create solutions, such as ergonomic chairs that benefit a worker’s overall health and productivity.
How ergonomic chairs use science
The scientific discipline of ergonomics — also known as human-factors engineering and psychology — is the study of how people work and interact with their workspace both physically and psychologically.
When it comes to ergonomic chairs, the science behind them considers one thing: the ideal sitting position. It considers what angle and level one should rest their heads and hands in relation to their desk and monitor — all to ensure minimal strain on the body.
Generally, ergonomic chairs can benefit the sitter by addressing these concerns in the following ways:
- Headrest — Providing support for the head and neck reduces pain in the neck and shoulders and promotes relaxation. By allowing the head to rest comfortably, headrests also reduce eye strain.
- Lumbar support — The entire backrest of the chair should adjust to align with the curves of the sitter’s spine, providing complete support and promoting better posture.
- Armrests — Armrests lessen the pressure on your arms and shoulders, and when aligned correctly with the height of your desk, it also reduces strain on the wrists.
- Cushion — Many kinds of cushioning are available with different benefits, but most importantly, they reduce pressure on the lower back and buttocks.
- Overall Adjustability — The ability to adjust the height of your chair, the position of the seat cushion and other features makes a chair truly ergonomic since it will fit an individual’s size and preferences.
All of these factors determine how ergonomic a chair is and are important considerations when choosing a chair. However, the best ergonomic chairs feature adjustable support and height, and makes use of the best materials available to ensure durability and breathability for the skin.
The benefits of ergonomic chairs
The benefits of ergonomic chairs are as follows:
- Lessens the risk of health issues — Ergonomic chairs target bad posture, which can cause painful chronic conditions and other dangerous health risks.
- Improves quality of life and work — Ergonomic chairs support movement, which can decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Increases productivity — Prolonged sedentary activity has been shown to decrease productivity and encourage working performatively or presenteeism.