Ergonomic chairs support your legs and back in order to provide you with optimal posture. Sitting improperly for long hours will place strain on the spine and your legs, which can cause pain and discomfort. Sit improperly for too long, and it can eventually lead to chronic back pain and other health issues. Ergonomic chairs are specifically designed to minimize strain on your body and prevent pain from occurring, as well as other health related problems commonly associated with poor sitting posture. Ergonomic chairs will only prevent strain if properly adjusted to your body and used correctly. Improper use of even the top of the line ergonomic chairs will mitigate their effectiveness. When you purchase an ergonomic office chair for the first time, getting the chair to properly adjust to you may seem like a complicated task but all it takes is a little knowledge on what to expect.
When you receive your ergonomic chair, be sure to familiarize yourself with all the special features and functions of your chair. Prior to purchasing your chair would be the best time to find out which ergonomic functions are a necessity for your chair and which you can live without. Some office chair websites will provide you with information about how different ergonomic features work and more importantly, what they are exactly. There are sure to be many features included in your chair that you have never heard before, and it is important to know how each works so you can get the most out of your chair. Most ergonomic chairs will have several levers or buttons that adjust features such as the chair height or arm height.
If you will be using your ergonomic chair on carpeted floors, be sure to also purchase a chair mat as well. It is crucial to remember that even though you are purchasing an ergonomic chair, you will also need to move around throughout the day to have good circulation. Rolling a chair across carpet can be difficult and get stuck without the use of a chair mat. Dragging or pushing your chair across carpet while sitting in the chair can produce unnecessary strain on your body and the chair.
To make sure you are getting proper blood flow through your legs, you will need to adjust the seat height of your ergonomic chair using the appropriate button or lever. Most of the time this lever can be found on your right hand side and is one of the most clearly marked functions on the chair. You should adjust the height to allow your feet to rest flat on the floor without any strain on your legs. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle and your seat should be about a half an inch away from the back of your knees to avoid putting too much pressure.
If your chair comes with lumbar support
(most ergonomic chairs do), be sure to align the lumbar support to the position that is most comfortable and in line with your lower back. For some chairs this may mean raising or lowering the back to match up with your height. In other chairs the lumbar support will be adjustable, and you should be able to simply move it up or or down to conform to the natural curvature of your spine. In advanced ergonomic chairs, an optional feature that can be purchased is inflatable lumbar support, which allows the user to 'pump' up the volume of lumbar support they would like to receive.
Perhaps the most important concept to keep in mind when using your ergonomic chair is to make adjustments when necessary. What feels good today may not feel right a few months down the line and you may need to adjust your chair to meet your new needs. If your office chair comes with armrests, make sure to adjust these often as well. Poorly positioned arms can lead to strain and in worse case scenarios carpal tunnel syndrome. One adjustment you will want to avoid adjusting frequently is the height of the chairs; this tends to wear out the chair quicker. With all this in mind, take some time out of your day the next time you sit in your office chair to make sure you are properly adjusted and getting all you can out of your ergonomic office chair.
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