Office Chair Buying Basics

Here at Vitality, Dr. Tyler and I are typically asked on a weekly basis if we can recommend any particular office chair. Since there are so many options for you, let me take a moment to explain the basics of proper office chair ergonomics. A proper chair can help you have more energy, less pain, and therefore improve concentration and productivity. Here are the basics.

Seat Height

This is the most important feature. Your feet should rest flat on the floor without compressing the back of your thighs; otherwise you’ll restrict blood supply to your lower legs and feet – resulting in tired and possibly numb legs.When you’re working at a table which can’t be adjusted in height, adjust your chair according to the height of your table, lowering the chair until your elbows are just above the table top. If your feet still don’t rest flat on the floor, get a footrest.

Seat Height
This is the most important feature. Your feet should rest flat on the floor without compressing the back of your thighs; otherwise you’ll restrict blood supply to your lower legs and feet – resulting in tired and possibly numb legs.When you’re working at a table which can’t be adjusted in height, adjust your chair according to the height of your table, lowering the chair until your elbows are just above the table top. If your feet still don’t rest flat on the floor, get a footrest.

 

Seat depth

If the seat depth isn’t adjustable, it should at least allow you to sit right at the back of the chair without pressing the backs of your knees. You need to sit at the back of the chair to use the backrest correctly and support your lumbar spine.

 

 

Backrest/Lumbar support

It’s essential that the ch
air has a backrest with an appropriate size and shape, to support the lower and middle back properly without restricting arm or shoulder movements. The backrest should help you to maintain the natural S-shape of your spine when you’re sitting.

 

 

Backrest tilt

Tilting the backrest allows you to adopt different postures, e.g. upright, or semi-reclined. When you sit on a work chair, the angle between your thighs and back should be around 95 to 105 degrees so that your abdomen and chest are open and not compressed. Opening up more of the angle between your body and thighs lets you breathe better, sending more oxygen to your muscles.

 

 

Dynamic Sitting

The human body isn’t designed for static postures, especially sitting. The longer you work, the more important the chair movement becomes, such as the ability to recline. It’s better to make small movements in the chair rather than continually fidgeting.Such chair movements depend on your weight, so office chairs should ideally have auto weight adjustment. If not, you should be able to adjust the tension of the backrest, so that you’re in total balance whether you’re upright or leaning back, and able to maintain good posture without having to exert excessive force.

 

Armrests

If you’re going to spend some time in the chair, you need to support the weight of your arms. Fixed height armrests are fine for occasional use, but for extended use, they should adjust, at least in height. Height adjustable arms can be lowered to go neatly under the desk when the chair’s not in use.The best ergonomic chairs will allow you to change the width between armrests to suit your body width, so that they are close to you where you need them.If the armrests prevent you getting close to the table or desk, you’ll end up sitting at the front edge of seat and not be able to use the backrest correctly, losing lumbar support.

 

Swivel

This is also a very important feature. When you’re working, you may need to reach other parts of the table or desk. If the chair doesn’t swivel, you may have to frequently twist your back to reach – not good for your back.

Seat surface

The seat, armrest and backrest should be padded firmly enough to support you, but should feel soft enough for you not to feel pressure points, or the hardness of the chair frame, on the base of the two prongs of your pelvis.The chair covers should be permeable so that the seat can breathe and minimize the build-up of heat on the seat.

 

Remember: even on an ergonomically correct chair, don’t sit for a long time without a break! Get up and do other things, such as a few simple stretching exercises. Short but frequent breaks are much better for you (both physically and mentally) than one long break after a very long time.

 

General Office Chair Buying Guide

*I made a few assumptions:

1. You wanted this chair to last 8 years or longer

2. You would use this chair at least 5 hours a day – thus a preference for mesh material.

3. Therefore you were ok with the low point of the price range to begin at $250.

$250 – $350

– US Alera Epoch Series

– Offices to Go Ergonomic Mesh Chair (example: 11691B)

– Office Star Products

  • Black Pro-Grid High Back

$350-500

– HON 7800 Series High-Performance Mid Back Task Chair – not mesh, but rated well none-the-less.

– Office Star Products

  • Example: Office Star 818A-41P9C1A8 Executive High Back Chair

$500-700

– Top Pick: Herman Miller Aeron Chair- probably the chair I recommend most to people – they also have a 1 year no hassle/no questions return policy. You don’t love it, you return it!

  • I suggest you spring for the options: seat tilt angle, posture lumbar support, adjustable arms
  • www.smartfurniture.com is a convenient retailer, but many more out there too.

– Mirra Chairs – also by Herman Miller but I haven’t tried them out yet, but seem to be quite popular now.

– HON Ceres Series Ergonomic Office Chair: good chair but doesn’t have adjustable lumbar support, but Hon brand is quality

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Lifestyle Center
Downtown Ogallala
10 North Spruce Street, Suite A
Ogallala, NE 69153
Your Health Starts Here (308.284.0838)