Office jobs became a lot more common after the industrialization boom a little over a couple of centuries back. It was not just generals and high-ranking noblemen that sat behind desks anymore. But with the advent and rise of office jobs, it became apparent that sitting down for so many hours a day is not as simple as it looks. Not only is it tiring and draining, it can also negatively impact your body if you’re not following healthy sitting habits.
In today’s world, most employed people are sitting down for almost eight hours a day, and that is without counting the time they spend sitting at home or during their commute. Sitting for long durations each day has already been proved to be harmful to your health, and we haven’t even touched on the adverse effects of sitting on a chair that does not suit your body. Let’s just say, an improperly matched chair will leave you fatigued, give you aches all over your body, and potentially damage your backbone. This is where ergonomic chairs come in to save the day.
What Are Ergonomic Chairs
Ergonomic chairs are, well, ergonomic. Simply put, ergonomic chairs are designed so that they can be adjusted for each user’s preferences. They are mostly designed to be able to provide a person with proper lumbar support as well as keeping their spine in a healthy posture. Furthermore, because of the multiple adjustable options, you can be sure that you will get the most comfortable seating position you can in every aspect. Ergonomic chairs commonly come with adjustable chair height, adjustable headrest height, adjustable armrest width and height, adjustable seat tilt, and adjustable back shape for the perfect fit with your lumbar.
How Much Do Ergonomic Chairs Cost
Ergonomic chairs, due to the additional features they are equipped with, are usually more expensive than ordinary office chairs. Good ergonomic chairs will at least cost you around $200, though if you go for higher end ones you can even go into the thousands. It is advisable to not cheap out when getting yourself a chair, lest you end up with back problems for the rest of your life. A good quality ergonomic chair will last you a long time and keep you comfortable and your posture proper all the way through.
Ergonomic Vs Non-Ergonomic Chairs
Now the question actually comes down to this: Are ergonomic chairs worth it? The problem is, we can’t give you a concrete answer, because chairs are something each person has a different taste in. Some people swear by ergonomic chairs and vow to never buy a simple office chair again. Others though, might claim that they did not feel much of a difference between the two, and that they’re fine with whichever. Though you will actually need to try out chairs for yourself before you decide which one is right for you, we can at least provide you with explanations of the major differences between the two to help you be prepared for what to look out for when shopping.
Adjustable Seat Height
This is one feature almost all office chairs ship with too, but it is still worth a mention as it’s such an important one. An important feature required on chairs used for work, adjustable seat height allows you to position yourself properly for the desk that you are working at. But even more importantly, and related to the health benefits we talked about above, adjustable seat height allows you to adjust your seat’s height so that your feet are flat against the ground, which is an important part of a healthy sitting posture.
Adjustable Back Height
Some ergonomic chairs come with adjustable back heights in addition to adjustable seat heights. With this, you can actually raise or lower the backrest portion of the seat too, allowing yourself to position it just the way you like it. Adjustable back height might be important because it means you can rest whichever part of your back is more tired at the moment by adjusting the backrest until it is at the level of that portion of your back.
Adjustable Sliding Seat
Another feature you can find in many ergonomic chairs is the ability to slide the actual seat itself forward or backward away or toward the back. This can allow for various methods of sitting down, like laid back and relaxed, slouching, or straight-backed and alert. The straight-backed posture is the healthiest one by the way. This can be a feature you might want because it allows you to position yourself as far away from the back as you like so that you’re comfortable and not being poked in the back.
The armrests can also be adjusted in some ergonomic chairs. By that, we mean that they can either be moved horizontally to be closer to or farther away from the user, as well as be adjusted vertically for different heights. This feature is pretty neat as it means that no matter what kind of arms you have – long, short, thick, slim – you are likely to find a sweet spot with the armrests of your chair.
Adjustable Lumbar Support
You are probably aware of those back cushions you can attach to chairs and slide up and down by loosening or tightening their straps. Some ergonomic chairs come with such an attachment, and it is adjustable as well, albeit without the difficulty of managing the straps. This is a very important feature you might want in your chair as this basically guarantees a perfect fit with your back. You can raise or lower the lumbar support to the perfect height where your backbone curves and your sitting experience will be enhanced immensely.
Quite a few ergonomic chairs provide a headrest option. These headrests, as everything else in the chair, are likely to be adjustable as well. Adjustable headrests on these ergonomic chairs can be raised or lowered as well as tilted backward or forward. This is important because you can rest your head however you feel like and however it feels comfortable. The adjustable height means anyone can use the headrest as they can adjust it to their height. The tilt also means that you can perfect the posture you created by adjusting the backrest and seat as well.
Adjustable Seat Tilt
Another fun little feature some ergonomic chairs come with which you can choose how you want to sit. You can go for a flat seat, or you could tilt it forward for a more attentive posture, or you could slightly tilt it backward for a lumbar friendly posture that is also relaxing.
Should You Go For An Ergonomic Chair
Again, it really depends on how much you like the chair. You cannot make a decision without having sat in one first. But with that said, ergonomic chairs do make a compelling case. They provide tons of customization. They ensure your back doesn’t end up needing expensive medical treatment later in life. They also make sure that whenever you sit down, it would be on your own personalized little perfected chair and you will instantly be extremely comfortable. If all of those sound like compelling reasons to splurge on an ergonomic chair then yes, go for it.
You only get one spine in your lifetime, you should look after it. Spending some extra money now on a chair that keeps your back healthy is going to be extremely worth it and rewarding down the line. If you think you do want to buy an ergonomic chair, why not go over our guide to doing so here. If you want to read about and explore the tons of other kinds of office chairs available, we have a piece on that too.