Ever Thought What Your Office Chair Is Doing To Your Body?

Back in the 1960s one of the big pension companies ran the same cartoon ad strip for years. It showed this guy as he progressed through life. It started with him as a 25 year old and saving for old age wasn't even on the agenda. At 35 he's thinking it's something for the future and puts the idea on the back burner. At 45 he's thinking it's time to make a start, but doesn't. And at 55 years old it shows him worried as hell because he never took action and now it's much too late.

It's striking how similar office chairs are in this respect. At 25 you could sit on a sand bag all day and it wouldn't matter. Ten years on at 35 maybe there are a few niggling aches and pains, yet nothing much to worry about. Come 45 and the thought crosses the mind you probably ought to change that crappy 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.

There have been loads of recent reports about sitting being bad for you and a significant contributor to heart disease, diabetes, weight problems and posture problems. What is it about sitting that causes the issues?

Movement is key
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. 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.

And adding a few simple exercises will make a real difference. Search ‘office chair exercises' on YouTube for some handy routines.

Long term though you need to be looking at getting a better chair.

Why some chairs are better for your health
Fortunately a few seating manufacturers know all about the importance of movement.


HÅG H04 Chair

One of the first to promote this concept was HÅG of Norway. When you sit in one of its chairs like the H04 or H05 you will notice a subtle difference.

What you will find is as you move in the chair it moves with you supporting you as you change position. This helps to prevent muscles seizing up as well as keeping them toned and your blood circulation moving.

Several other manufacturers also produce chairs designed for good movement. Knoll's Generation, Steelcase's Leap and Herman Miller's Embody are all worth considering.

Hidden drawbacks of using the wrong chair
When you work in a poorly designed chair not only is it bad for you health it affects other things too.

Often your productivity will tank. 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.

Benefits of good design
When Steelcase developed its Leap chair it conducted a study of several hundred users which showed that productivity levels improved by an impressive 17.89% due to its superior design benefits.


Steelcase Leap

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. So don't end up like the 55 year old who never started saving and suddenly realized it was too late.

What next?
Begin by taking a look at some of the chairs we've mentioned in this article like the H04, H05, Generation, Leap and Embody. All will greatly enhance your sitting comfort.

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