The Benefits Of Healthy Office Working: Feel Rejuvenated By Banishing Bad Habits

Bad Habits Can Cause Pain

Do you find yourself suffering with nagging aches and pains when you're working at your computer?

Shoulders as stiff as boards, aching neck muscles and maybe lower back pain too. Well, it’s time to banish those bad habits and get stuck into healthy office working.

What is healthy office working?
Healthy office working is really all about eliminating bad habits and developing good habits instead. It’s a case of becoming more aware of what you are doing, recognizing when what you are doing is bad for your health and consciously replacing it with the correct method instead.

How do I recognize bad habits?
Fortunately bad habits are actually quite easy to recognize. Because when you are working in an unhealthy posture your brain quickly lets you know by inflicting pain on your body.

Pain is nature’s way of saying you need to change what you're doing because it’s not healthy. Consequently any time you feel pain when you're working don't ignore it, instead take heed and ask yourself why what you're doing is causing you pain.

When pain strikes you need to take heed and then take action
So when your shoulders are aching or your lower back is killing you, simply ask why it’s happening. It’s usually something straightforward. Maybe you haven't moved out of your chair in over two hours and you’ve been sitting like a twisted branch. Or you’ve been craning your neck forward rigidly for the past half hour as you scrutinize the figures on your screen.

Whatever – it’s time to start developing some good habits instead.

How can you begin developing good habits?
It really isn't difficult at all. Most of the time it’s all too obvious why you're suffering pain and stiffness. Here are some of the ways you can take action.

  • Get up out of your chair at least once an hour. Every half hour is better
  • Do some simple exercises and stretches, many of these can be done while sitting
  • Use an inexpensive program like ergonomix or MacBreakz to develop a routine for exercise
  • Use a countdown timer to remind yourself to take a break
  • Check how you are sitting, adjust your screen so you're not craning forwards
  • Don't slouch in your chair, a rounded back is killer and causes lower back pain
  • Drink plenty of water, it will help to keep your muscles healthy

As you can see there’s nothing difficult about checking for and correcting any of the above problems. And when you take action you will notice the benefits of healthy office working.

What are the benefits of healthy office working?
Developing and implementing healthy working habits will quickly provide you with a much better work experience. Here are some of the improvements you'll notice pretty quickly.

  • Less fatigue in your body and muscles
  • A greater level of concentration
  • More alertness when performing tasks
  • More productivity as you aren't being distracted by pain
  • Feeling more relaxed and less tense even when performing complex tasks

Surely it makes sense to experience these improvements in your work routine by taking heed of your body and being aware of when change is needed.

Be aware and watch for those tell tale pain messages
So the secret to healthier office working really comes down to self-observation and pain awareness.

Make a habit of continually observing how you are working. If you find you are slipping back into an old bad habit, pull yourself up and correct it. Do this for two weeks and you will soon find you will replace the bad with the good.

And if your chair is worn out, it's probably time to think about investing in a new ergonomic office chair because it will help support you properly.

Finally, never ignore pain it’s nature’s way of pointing out the error of your ways. Ask yourself what the cause is and take action to correct it, you'll be glad you did.

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Free Report Helps Solve Office Chair Pain And Discomfort

A huge number of office chairs don't include the right functions which results in office workers suffering all sorts of aches, pains and discomfort.

Do any of the following symptoms affect you?

Your thighs are aching and you have been sitting for barely an hour, particularly the undersides – maybe even some numbness.

No matter what way you sit you can't find comfort and your buttocks are really uncomfortable, continually shuffling around provides temporary relief, yet it never lasts for long and you soon seem to be back where you started.

Your lower back appears to be in constant pain and you attempt to relieve this by changing position in your chair, the trouble is any relief is temporary and that nagging back pain
soon returns.

Your shoulders and neck are often stiff, rigid even and the lack of movement brings on pain because the muscles supporting these parts of your body are stressed and tired. And this tends to happen almost daily as you work, especially on a tight deadline.

Arms and wrists flag very quickly especially when using a mouse intensively, you are concerned you may end up with RSI (repetitive stress injury) or carpal tunnel problems if it isn't sorted out soon.

All of the above conditions are all too common for people working with computers regularly and many will put them down to tiredness, stress and pressure of work, which are actually the symptoms of the problems.

This free downloadable report (no opt-in needed), examines these common problems, what causes them and how to find a solution. Get hold of 5 Secret for Solving Office Chair Pain and Discomfort now.

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How An Office Chair Seat Depth Mechanism Can Reduce Pain And Discomfort

seat depth adjustment

seat depth adjustment is vital

If you pick 10 people at random and measure their leg length as well as taking measurements from knee to heel and knee to waist it would be unlikely you will get 2 identical sets of dimensions.

Why is this important? Well, you would hardly expect them to all wear the same length of clothing, even if you allowed for different waist sizes. And yet the vast majority of office chairs make no allowance for this variation because the seat depth can't be altered.

This is all well and good if you fit the size the chair manufacturer aimed the chair at. What is the average, does anyone know? 5ft 6ins 5ft 9ins who knows? I've yet to see an office chair which states the leg length it is supposed to fit, this is far from ideal.

Here's how a chair can affect different users when it is not suitable for their leg length.

People who have short legs and particularly in their upper legs will find they have to perch on the edge of the chair. This is because they can't sit back in the chair and bend their knees properly or place their feet squarely on the floor.

This often leads to back pain as their back is completely unsupported and sitting often becomes uncomfortable too.

At the other end of the height scale big and tall users often have the opposite problem. They have to sit right back in the chair and yet their legs still overshoot the edge of the chair by far too much.

This puts pressure on the underside of the thighs and also their back and some will have to compensate by setting their chair too high just to get their feet on the floor at a reasonable angle.

So it's always best to insist on selecting a chair with leg depth adjustment. The commonest form of adjustment is a sliding seat, although some chairs allow the user to move the back in and out and this is OK too.

Here are a couple of articles you can check out. The first explains how to adjust your office chair for your own needs and the second looks at further aspects of seat depth adjustment.

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Padding Doesn’t Make An Office Chair Ergonomic

Remember back in school when you had to write an essay usually it had to be a minimum number of words.

You would sit there thinking how am I going to write that much on this subject? And then after a while you would resort to padding and stuff it full of unnecessarily long sentences and repeat things to get the word count up and make it look good.

Reality was your teacher saw straight through it and you were in trouble for stuffing it full of useless content and told it was all padding.

Guess what a lot of office chairs are just the same, you see them all the time in the discount office supplies stores, great puffed up padded low grade foam and usually with very poor quality leather upholstery. And yet as you try it out sinking into that heap of foam it feels like it's really comfortable.

And for the first 10 or 15 minutes it probably is comfortable, it is only after you have been sitting in it for a couple of hours comes the realization it's not comfortable at all.

Why is this? It's because there is no real structural support it's a bit like sitting on a giant sponge, it just moves to wherever your body weight is forcing it. Before you know it your body has adapted a most unhealthy posture as your lower back rounds like a medicine ball and the discs in your spine start bulging into a really unhealthy shape resulting in back pain.

It only gets worse because in time what generally happens is the low quality foam flattens out with repeated use and your once fluffed up padding becomes more like sitting on a rock.

There is nothing wrong with padding on an office seat as long as it is of good quality and well designed. There is a world of difference between low grade packing type foam rubber and high quality polyurethane foam carefully sculpted to follow body contours and of high density designed to retain its shape for years. This is why companies like Humanscale are able to offer a 15 year warranty on its Freedom chair.

So don't get taken in by a so called ergonomic computer chair with loads of padding as chances are the initial comfort it gives will rapidly disappear.

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Are Office Chairs And Loan Cars Like 2 Peas In A Pod?

Recently my car had to go in to the local auto repair shop for a few days and so they arranged a loan car for me while the work was done.

I arranged to swap cars over Sunday evening to save time and I get to the repair shop early evening in the dark and it's raining when I pick up the keys and get in the loaner.

Turn the ignition key zip, nada, nothing not a spark of life, so I double check it's not in gear and all the usual things, still not a thing. In the end I go and knock up the owner, turns out you have to put your foot on the brake to get it to work – doh!

Next, where are the widow wipers, found them pretty quick and then there's the back screen wiper this takes a bit longer. Not surprisingly there is no gas in the tank so I head off to fill up, cue drama number two how to unlock the filler cap cover, sorted it eventually turns out you need to press the key fob twice to release it. It was only after a day or so and reading the handbook I got everything figured out.

And it strikes me how similar it is with office chairs whether inherited or new.

Here's a recent tweet from Twitter I saw:

“Guy just delivered my new office chair and had to train me on how to use it. I wish I was kidding.”

It's like the car isn't it? We think we know how to drive them, there all the same aren't they?

I've lost count of the times I've seen comments like – “only had the chair 3 years and I finally found out how to make it recline.” Or “help, how do I adjust the height on my office chair” etc.

When you think about how long you spend every day in your office seat it's surely pretty important to have it set up properly for your personal use.

It's not surprising people suffer so much back pain and discomfort from their chairs, going back to the car scenario you know what it is like when you get in your car after it's been in for repair and the guy road testing is a lot bigger or smaller than you, chances are you won't drive it a yard until you get the driving position readjusted back to your settings.

So, it's worth taking a little time to check your chair is set up properly for you, do you know what all the adjustments control? If you are unsure and know the make and model visit their website and download details on how adjust it properly.

You might just find you will be a whole lot more comfortable afterwards.

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Is Your Office Lighting Causing You Working Discomfort?

An area which is often overlooked is office lighting and if poorly set up can frequently create a lot of problems with screen glare.

If your work space is poorly lit you may find you suffer from eye strain, headaches or back and neck pain caused by putting your body in awkward positions because of inadequate lighting.

Where you work near to a window it's important to have your office chair correctly positioned, you shouldn't sit with your back to the window as bright sunlight on your VDU can make it unreadable.

Instead, make sure you are facing the window to avoid direct sunlight hitting your screen. Where it is unavoidable and you have to have a window behind you, look to fitting a window blind so you can control the amount of natural light entering your work area.

If your office has fluorescent lighting it’s important to fit a good quality diffuser to the fitting which has been designed to remove glare and spread light evenly over the work area. Where this isn't possible you will often find adding task lighting can help to illuminate the desk area removing shadows and giving a more even light distribution.

Another way of tackling this problem is by fitting an anti-glare screen to your VDU screen, these simply clip over your display screen and have polarizing filters designed to cut out glare problems.

Steelcase has an interesting article on office lighting and you will also find further information on anti-glare screens here.

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Tired Of Back Pain And Discomfort From Your Office Chair?

Even the best office chairs will give us some discomfort occasionally, especially when you sit in one for hours without getting up for a stretch or break, the human body simply isn't designed to be locked in the same position for hours at a time.

If you study yourself as you work, you'll likely discover when pain and discomfort begin to set in, your unconscious reaction is to move and vary the way you are sitting. This is your body's way of telling you what you're doing is unhealthy and you need to activate your muscles, get things moving and blood flowing through the arteries.

So, it's important to make sure you sit in a high quality office chair ergonomically designed to move as you move and give proper support to your body all day long.

With that said, simply having a good chair doesn't mean you can ignore the way you sit in it and interact with it. You need to address your work properly making sure you have your monitor set at a comfortable reading distance so you aren't craning your neck forwards as you strain to read the screen.

Slouching is another common bad habit and this is all too easy to slip into particularly with cheaper budget chairs as they tend to force us to sit in a fairly rigid way usually at 90° and slouching is a means of trying to escape this straight jacketed posture.

More and more office chairs are being designed to give people a more open seating position where the angle at the hips is 110° or more. In the past this has presented manufacturers with a challenge because as users recline in their seats they lost visual contact with their screen and reclining tipped them up in the air.

Fortunately, a number of quality products now allow you to recline and stay in contact visually and bodily with your work area. Additionally, they also correctly support the back, neck and shoulders moving as you move allowing you to decide how you choose to sit and this all helps to greatly reduce niggling back pain, aches and discomfort.

Chairs worth taking a look at include the Embody, Leap, Aeron and Futu.

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Home Office Chair Selection: Core Features To Insist On

In this final post on choosing a home office chair, it's time to look at what you need to be sure the new office chair you are about to choose includes as a core set of features and functions.

There are 5 functions you need to insist on if you are looking to get maximum comfort when selecting the best possible chair for your needs and these are:

  • Seat Depth Adjustment giving optimal leg comfort
  • Adjustable back height to allow the lower back to be correctly supported
  • Arm Height Adjustment for easy movement and to minimize the risk of RSI
  • Seat Height Adjustment to suit you body height and weight
  • Adjustable Tilt Tension allows personal adjustment for individual body weight

 

The absence of any of these features can often result in pain and discomfort for different parts of you body. This is discussed in detail in a free pdf report 5 Secret Insights for Solving Office Chair Aches, Pains and Discomfort available for download here.

Also Steelcase has some useful tips for the Home Office with related topics you may not have considered.

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Home Office Chair Selection: Calculating the Right Budget

In the previous post I discussed why people who work serious hours from a home office need to invest in a good office chair. It's time to decide on how much to spend on your new chair to get the right answer for your needs.

The price of office chairs varies enormously from as little as $30 up to $3000 and more, realistically it’s unlikely you will get a chair with the right features and functions for less than $400.

How much! Well I did stress it was an investment didn't I?

You probably need to budget between $400 and $800 to make sure you get a good quality ergonomic office chair which will serve you for many years after you have got over the cost.

This may mean saving some of your hard earned cash so you can afford the right chair. The worst thing you can do is decide you can't afford the cost and go out and buy another sub $100 chair because the aches, pains and discomfort you experience from it will quickly have you regretting your purchase.

So, unless your existing chair is falling apart, suffer it for a little while longer until you can save the money to buy the right one.

I’ll continue this article in my next post by looking at what you need to insist on for that new office chair.

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What Is Your Back Worth?

I imagine hardly anyone ever stops to think what their back is worth to them, they all just take it for granted it's only when it starts to ache most of us are even aware it's there

Fortunately or maybe unfortunately our back can withstand a great deal of misuse and until it becomes a real problem we will happily go on abusing it.

However, all this misuse does have a price particularly as you get older, it becomes more and more difficult to shake off the aches and pains.

It can creep up on you little by little until you end up with a serious problem which there isn't a quick fix solution for.

Humans weren't designed for sitting for long periods of time and so it becomes ever more important to make sure we give our back and body every assistance in sitting in a properly supported dynamic posture.

Guess what? Those $79 chairs at the discount store don't come close to providing what you need, in fact they will likely do a good job of messing your back up once you sit in one for a few years.

So, to return to my opening question: What is your back worth?

For me the answer can be summed up in one word, priceless. If this means spending several hundred dollars to get the right chair to properly support my back and body then this is a small price to pay.

When you buy a quality office chair look on it as an investment which will last years, while others continue to keep buying cheap chairs and replacing them several times compared to the life of the right chair, they seem destined to keep making the same mistake again and again.

Factor in the cost of regular trips to your chiropractor to sort out your back and you will begin to see the false economy of budget chairs. Here is a quick summary of reviews of quality office chairs designed to look after your back.

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