Having a job requiring almost an entire day sitting in front of your workstation can affect your spine and its surrounding tissues. Sometimes, an ordinary office chair doesn't provide adequate comfort while sitting. But you shouldn't ditch your old office chair for a new one if you feel like it's not providing you the support that your lower back needs. All you need is an ergonomic seat cushion and several ergonomic ways to relieve your back or thighs' pressure without enduring fatigue.
Let's read up a few things to know why a bad chair may be bad for you and some useful ways to transform your office chair into a more ergonomic and comfortable one.
What Are the Consequences of Sitting on a Bad Chair?
1. Increased Body Fat
A 2011 study found a deterioration in insulin response after a day of prolonged sitting. According to the Washington Post, the pancreas generates a hormone that carries glucose to the cells, commonly known as insulin. But when the muscles are idle, cells don't respond as quickly to insulin, allowing the pancreas to produce more, leading to diabetes and other complications.
Sitting on a bad chair for an extended period keeps you idle, which leads to a lack of movement and action.
2. Poor Blood Circulation
If you're sitting in a chair with a poor alignment, it can lead to poor blood circulation to your neck, shoulders, back, and legs. According to Forbes, the chances of developing cardiovascular disease are high if your job requires a prolonged sitting duration, compared to those who weren't. You can perform regular exercises to counteract this risk, but this won't be enough since you will still be sitting on a chair as part of your job.
3. Increased Fatigue
If your spine isn't properly aligned, all your muscles had to the responsibility by maintaining you upright, which leads to increased fatigue and a "foggy brain" due to lack of fresh blood and oxygen.
4. Digestive Problems
Prolonged sitting in a bad office chair may cause indigestion. Digestion plays an essential role in keeping our bodies healthy and strong. The food we consume reaches the cells only if it's appropriately dissolved, and sitting in an uncomfortable chair for extended hours can stall this process.
5. Decreased concentration
An ill-fitting office chair, especially one without a memory foam seat cushion, may result in a loss of concentration solely because being uncomfortable keeps you distracted. You'll end up casually trying to find a suitable posture for your body and just kept re-adjusting your position, which can be time-consuming.
What Is the Importance of Having a Comfortable Chair While Working?
Many of us spend an average of six to ten hours a day sitting on an office chair and often neglect its detrimental effects on our body. Office workers commonly experience neck pain and lower back pain caused by excessive pressure applied to the spinal discs.
Studies have shown that long hours of sitting can also increase your risk of early death. Sitting for over 11 hours a day, even if you're regularly exercising, can still accumulate a chance of developing a cardiovascular ailment up to 50%.
1. Boosts Comfort
We spend most of our day glued to our office desks, without realizing the discomfort and pain developing in our back and neck. Freshen up your workspace and prioritize your seats to achieve better comfort while working. You can incorporate lumbar support pillows for back support, a footrest cushion to eliminate fatigue on your feet, armrest pads for a more comfortable forearm surface, and seat cushions to relieve the spine's discomfort and pressure on the legs. We'll explain this further below, so if this interests you, just carry on reading.
2. Improves Productivity
Isn't it daunting to wake up in the morning, get ready, head to your office only to sit at your desk, and get uncomfortable later on? This kind of situation can sometimes be formidable as you'll end up with a pile of delayed work and missed deadlines.
Having a comfortable chair keeps you undisrupted and lets you spend the most time on your desk, increasing your productivity.
3. Eliminates Pain & Improves Posture
You often find yourself lost in the work that causes you to forget your posture - leading to severe back pains. Failing to sit in an accurate position adds tension to your back muscles and ligaments. The right office chair that's adjustable to match your specific body type and proper ergonomic tools can provide you adequate back support.
How Do I Transform My Office Chair Ergonomically
You don't have to purchase a new or spend on high-quality office chairs to fully experience an ergonomic setting on your workspace. In most cases, all you have to do is tweak your monitor and keyboard and a couple of inexpensive cushions that can provide a supportive and comfortable seating position.
1. Improve Your Posture
A few people seriously weren't well aware of how to properly sit in a chair, which often leads to bad posture. Improper posture may harm your back, causing lower back pain. You'll feel uncomfortable even if the chair is quite sufficient.
Correct your posture by sitting up straight with your shoulders relaxed. Make sure your buttocks touch the back of your chair.
2. Adjust Your Chair
When the chair is too high, it'll cause your feet to hang down the floor, causing numbness, pain, and poor circulation in the back of the thighs. When your chair is too low, additional pressure is applied to your back since your hip joints stretch to hold the knees above the hips, which may lead to back pain.
Make sure your chair provides you adequate back support. Adjust the height, back, arms, and seat. The precise height for your office chair is where both your feet are flat on the floor, with your knees leaned at a 90-degree angle. Your knees should be even or slightly beneath your hips.
3. Have A Look At Your Keyboard & Desk
Usually, it's the office table that needs to be modified, not the chair. The typical desk height is about 29-inch, which might be too short or too tall for some people. Your forearms and wrists should also be parallel to the ground, just as if your typing on your lap.
If your keyboard is too high, it's best to raise your chair and place a footrest. You can also opt for an under-desk keyboard tray to lower the keyboard to avoid straining your arms or shoulders.
4. Check Your Monitor's Height
If you're working with your laptop, you tend to bend your head down. In this case, you have the option to get a laptop stand or an adjustable external monitor. Meanwhile, desktop users looking for an adjustable external monitor can also go for a monitor arm for comfortable viewing.
It's recommended to position your monitor on an eye level about 2 to 3 inches below the monitor's top. This position will prevent your neck from craning up and down.
5. Opt for Back Support Device
If you're still feeling uncomfortable with your chair and you have no clue as to why, your chair's lumbar support could be the culprit. Office chairs with lower end either have inadequate lumbar support or already fixed, restricting you into a particular position without the proper lower back support.
Your best option would be getting a lumbar support pillow, which reduces and prevents back pain from slouching; plus, it's way cheaper than spending on an ergonomic chair.
6. Incorporate a Memory Foam Seat Cushion
Another common source of complaints and discomfort in office chairs is the seat. It may be too firm, too thin, or solely lacking adequate support and contours to thoroughly distribute your body weight.
You can opt for an ergonomic seat cushion with breathable memory foam to keep you comfortable while sitting for an extended period. Memory foam seat cushion retains its form despite sitting on it for a long time, providing optimal support for your back, legs, and buttocks. This pillow is also beneficial for people with hip pain, sciatica, and herniated discs. It stabilizes your pelvis and alleviates pressure in the coccyx area while sitting.
Due to the pandemic, many people spend most of their day at home, working. The best way to ensure your working hours keep you motivated and never go to waste is to create a homey and welcoming work environment. Invest in quality and durable office ergonomics such as a memory foam seat cushion to help you achieve that setting. But most importantly, sit up from your chair and walk around periodically, as this will encourage healthier posture, reduce eye strain, and combat fatigue.