The Perfect Way to be Seated?
Office Chairs UK, 31/07/2015
Ergonomics is the science of work, by better understanding it we can determine how best to ensure that a worker is optimally set up to carry out their work. In particular, there is a lot of debate surrounding the perfect way to be seated. There are two main schools of thought regarding the position your office chair’s backrest should be at- some believe a complete right angle in order to maintain an upright position. Whereas others disagree and believe that the optimum angle is 135o as research has shown less spinal disk movement, indicating that there is less weight-bearing strain on the spine itself as well as the surrounding muscles. However this can seem a little too far back, causing people to slide off their seats, so finding a happy medium is preferable.
It is often assumed that back pain is mostly caused by slips and falls, whilst this can be the case, harm to the spine is also caused by prolonged periods of time spent in a static position- this is because mobility between the vertebrae is decreased, meaning increased susceptibility to back injury. A fixed posture can potentially lead to as much back pain as heavy manual work!
Changing your posture throughout the day ensures you won’t stay in a potentially damaging position for too long, it also enables you to find the most comfortable position for you depending on the task you’re carrying out. By stretching often you are promoting regular circulation, this helps to considerably reduce fatigue as if the muscles around your body are not receiving enough blood then they will tire much quicker. Ensure that your chair is high enough, as one that is too low will reduce blood flow to the legs. A chair that is too high will also prove damaging, by placing pressure on the back of your thighs blood flow is decreased, which can cause the blood to build up- leading to swelling and potentially varicose veins or DVT.
There is of course the obvious alternative to sitting- standing. If you feel as though long periods of sitting are causing you discomfort, try working standing up. This is becoming a popular trend and there are many adjustable desks available that will accommodate this change in height with ease. If the idea of standing for so long fills you with dread, try resting one foot on a footrest, and alternating every so often, allowing for some of your weight to be shifted.
Remaining in one position for a prolonged period of time can cause a variety of health issues that could ultimately lead to a lull in productivity. The key to preventing these issues from arising is the introduction of movement, by regularly changing between a select few postures- that are still sympathetic to the natural position of the spine- it is possible to spend extended periods seated without causing lasting damage. In order to adopt these various positions, you will require a chair that allows you to easily move around whilst simultaneously providing support.