seating for all environments
18 09/2013

Health and comfort: a pathway to success

A few hours spent at school, followed by doing homework and playing computer games; sitting in lectures and writing final papers back at home; 8 hours at work, often in front of a computer, and then having dinner and watching TV later at night. Whatever your age and walk of life, most of your day is spent in a sitting position. And it is not the healthiest and most comfortable position for your spinal column. A chair that is not adjusted to your posture, poorly organized desk space, mess and prolonged computer work can cause a lot of discomfort, from chronic tiredness, muscle and back pain up to serious cardiovascular disorders. Sadly, you cannot change the fact that you spend most of the day in a single, sitting position. What you should do, however, is to make sure the place where you work or study is as ergonomically sound as possible: friendly to you and your back.

When arranging your workplace you should be an egoist. Consider the type of work you do, but most importantly give attention to your individual body measurements such as your height, how long your legs and arms are, or the natural curves of your spinal column. In this way you can customize your work station and create a healthy and comfortable corner that will enhance your productivity and efficiency.

On a king's throne

First, you need to make sure your chair adjustments are right. Since we spend most of our day in a sitting position, a chair has become an inseparable part of our life. It must be perfectly adjusted to the user. By using the correct settings you can increase your performance, reduce tiredness and avoid a number of health problems.  Don't believe that? Try for yourself.

Chair for special assignments

First, deal with the height of the chair. Stand in front of the chair and set seat height so that the front edge of the seat is just below your knees. When you sit down, the angle under your knee should be about 90° and your feet should lightly rest on the floor along their entire surface. Then you should set seat depth. To do that, push yourself back as much as possible so that your back is evenly pressed against the backrest. Adjust seat depth so that a fist can fit between the front edge of the seat and your knee pit. The optimum seat depth is around 50 cm. It provides support to about ½ - ¾ of thigh length. When your back is pressed closely to the backrest you can now set backrest height. Chair backrests have curves which resemble the natural shape of the back. Set the backrest so that its shape perfectly fits your back and provides support along its entire length. If your chair has lumbar support too, you should set it on a suitable height.

                                                     

Firm support

Chair armrests actually serve a very important function. Working on a computer can strain your wrists, which may even lead to a very bothersome carpal tunnel syndrome. To avoid that, armrests in our chairs should be appropriately adjusted. If you can, set the armrests in a position that is most comfortable for you. Make sure the angle between your forearm and arm is at least 90°. It is important that your forearms are supported by armrests and make one line with your wrists, which should rest in a neutral position. 

Desk made to measure

Even if your chair is perfectly adjusted it won't be of much help if you don't have the right desk too. Sit in a previously adjusted chair. Desk top height should enable comfortable work with an angle of no less than 90° kept between your forearms and arms. If you are very tall you will have to bend over in order to adapt to a desk that is too low. Your spinal column and neck will be exposed to enormous overload and you are definitely in for back pain. To solve the problem it is a good idea to invest in a desk with height adjustment. With that, you will be able to adjust desk top height to your posture. If your desk is too high you can use an extendable keyboard panel or lift up your seat. In this case you must remember to rest your feet on a footrest. If your feet are not stably supported against the floor you might develop serious cardiovascular problems. If you cannot afford a desk with height adjustment and your desk is too low, you should slightly reduce the height of your chair.  Make sure, however, that there is sufficient space to put your legs comfortably.

                                                                    

Tidiness makes thinking easier

In the multitude of daily work a desk quickly becomes a mess. However, you should spend a moment to organize all your items well. Tidiness makes thinking easier, while trying to find something you need every couple of minutes puts you off and makes you inefficient, irritated and less productive. Since we mainly work on a computer these days, a monitor should be the central point on our desks. Constantly turning your head to the monitor may cause needless strain of arm and neck muscles. The same goes for items you use most often. They should always be placed at hand, which means around 20-25 cm away. Constantly reaching out for a pen, notes or handset causes unnecessary, excessive strain of the muscles and the back. 

Since our life is based on sitting and we are unable to change that, let's make sitting as comfortable as possible. Make sure your spinal column, muscles and eyes are healthy and energy and joy will always be with you. 

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