For years media has been reporting about sitting being bad for you and a significant contributor to heart disease, diabetes, weight problems and posture problems.
“Exactly how sitting a lot contributes to poor health isn’t clear. But some research suggests that it has harmful effects on sugar and fat metabolism, both of which affect a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease,” says Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Are you paying attention to office chair health at the right age?
At 25 you could sit on a bean bag all day and it wouldn’t bother you. Ten years later, at 35, you may be experiencing a few petty aches and pains, yet nothing much to worry about. Come 45 things start to change and the thought crosses your mind you probably ought to change that office chair. By the time you get to 55 it could all be too late because those years of sitting badly will have taken their toll. Unless, of course, you have a good Chiropractor, Physical Therapist or an excellent work out routine, right? But even still, that might not do the trick either. Check out this research about our sedentary life.
According to the report published in Annals of Internal Medicine back in January 2015 more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. But all that sitting could be sending us to an early grave—even those folks who exercise up to an hour a day, say the Canadian researchers who did the study (Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis)
Fear of an early death doesn’t usually motivate people to change their habits, but losing weight might be an incentive. You burn 30% more calories when you’re standing than when you’re sitting. It’s not a huge amount, but it adds up over time and contributes to weight control, says Dr. Lee. So stand up out of your chair from time to time. The authors of the Annals study offered tips for sitting less, such as standing or moving around for one to three minutes every half hour while you’re at work.
Here are important tips for creating a healthy body when sitting in your office chair.
Good Posture and Office Chair Movement is Important for Painless Sitting
Workplace ergonomics is an important part of treatment and prevention of neck pain. This includes noting the placement of your desk, computer workstation and/or placement of your computer monitor and keyboard. There are many online tips on how to improve to improve upper back and neck posture at work. Here’s one important one —
When sitting erect at a desk and looking straight ahead:
- Eyes should point directly at the top third of the screen.
- Forearms should be approximately parallel to the floor when typing.
- Elbows should be on the side.
- Feet should be flat on the floor with the thighs parallel to the floor.
Repetitive work without proper equipment or self-care can develop poor posture of the head, neck, and shoulders.
Persistent movements to one side or constant rotation of the neck and back to the same side can often aggravate joints and soft tissues causing neck and back pain.
The problem with sitting in low-quality chairs is you just don’t get the movement you need to keep your body healthy and comfortable. Movement is key to preventing work-related pain. What happens is you become locked in one position for hours at a time. Consequently, your core muscles slowly seize up from lack of use. One way to combat this is to stand up and move for a short while. And often – every ten minutes is a good idea. Even if it’s only for 30 seconds. Take the researchers advice mentioned above and do longer standing movements every half hour. And adding a few simple exercises will make a real difference. You can even benefit from searching ‘office chair exercises’ on YouTube for some workout routines. Long term though look at getting a better chair.
Hidden drawbacks of using the wrong office chair
When you work in a poorly designed office chair not only is it bad for your health it affects other things too.
Often your productivity declines. This is understandable because when your chair is causing you pain it saps concentration levels. Instead of having your mind fully on your work you find yourself shifting around trying to get comfortable; even getting up out of your chair leaving your work undone.
Get the benefits of good office chair design, at any age
Once you are comfortably supported you’re able to channel your efforts into your work without any painful distractions.
It’s easy to think that all office chairs are the same, something that lasts a couple of years after which you replace it with a new one. Before you know it you find you are locked into long-term discomfort caused by badly designed seating. Because this all happens gradually it isn’t always apparent that long-term damage to your body is taking place.
And the older you get the more important it becomes to break this cycle and invest in a proper chair. You will be amazed at the difference it makes to your working comfort and productivity. So don’t end up like the 55-year-old who never started saving and suddenly realized it was too late.
How do I pick a good office chair?
Begin by taking a look at the latest in office chair technology. Find one that addresses your needs. We’ve reviewed some important ones in the marketplace. We’ve also sourced where you can get those technologies in specific chairs. All will greatly enhance your sitting comfort productivity no matter what your age.