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Video:Office Chair Ergonomics

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Sitting in the same position all day can be destructive to your body, especially if you're sitting the wrong way, or in the wrong chair. See how to achieve office chair ergonomics, and your body will thank you later.See Transcript

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Transcript:Office Chair Ergonomics

Hey guys -- Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Sitting down is supposed to be restful, relaxing, and relatively easy compared to heavy labor or working on your feet all day. But if you're sitting in the wrong chair, or sitting the wrong way, you just might find your body slipping out of whack. Take a look at these ergonomic tips for selecting and positioning your desk chair, and you'll be pain and injury free. Check it out.

Desk Chair Strains

It's a little counter-intuitive to think of desk jobs as being stressful on your body, but sometimes being immobile can actually be harder on you than being physically active throughout the day. Steady and continual strain on muscles can lead to their deterioration or misalignment, and certain seating positions can hinder circulation to your legs and feet as well. If I had it my way, we'd all be sitting in bean bag chairs. We'd also have nap time, ample snack and exercise breaks, too. Oh wait, that was kindergarten.

Choose an Ergonomic Chair

Desk chairs come in all shapes and sizes, and there's no question that some are better than others when it comes to ergonomic design. But even if you can't afford a fancy ergonomically designed chair, at least mind these basics: seat, back, height, and stability. A good seat should allow your weight to sit evenly balanced across it - make sure you've got at least an inch of extra seat on either side of your hips, and that the back of your knees clear the front of the chair by an inch or two when your lower spine is flush with the back of the chair.

Office Chair Support

Your chair should support both your lower and upper back, and you should be able to tilt back just slightly when seated at your desk. Your seat height should allow your thighs to be parallel to the ground and the soles of your feet to be flat on the floor, but it should also allow your arms to rest comfortably on your desk in front of you, with your elbows at about a 90 degree angle.

Adjust the Office Chair

Which is a little tricky, since your desk has as much to do with it as your chair. Fortunately, most desk chairs these days give you the ability to raise and lower yourself, and arm rests can provide even greater relief for your back and neck. Adjustable desks are... a little less common.

Desk Chair Stability

A good desk chair will also have five points on its base for adequate stability. If your floor is carpeted, look for a chair with solid metal or plastic rollers - if you're on solid cement or hardwood, rubber wheels are the best. You might want your chair to be padded for comfort, just be sure it's firm enough to solidly support your body.

Sit Ergonomically

But no matter what kind of chair you've got - even if it's an old school wooden four-legged beastie - make sure you sit with a long, straight back, and maintain a position that allows for the least amount of continuous strain on your neck, back, shoulders, and arms. If you start to feel stiff, be sure to stand up and stretch, or even take a short walk. Maybe, all the way to the desk chair store for a new chair!

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