Most of us spend a third of our day sitting at our desk. The right chair can make a huge difference in your productivity, comfort and health. Are you ready for a new one? You probably are if...
Whether you sit at your desk for hours at a time or in spurts throughout the day, it's critical to select a chair that supports your shoulders, arms and back. Having an ergonomic chair that offers support prevents you from hunching over or overstretching which can lead to chronic muscular problems. Ergonomic chairs allow you to make several adjustments to the height, back, arms and lumbar region. This is not a one size fits all, and there are many options form which to choose.
Here are a few tips on selecting an ergonomic chair that works for you.
Consider how you work. Do you spend a lot of time on the phone? Do you need to quickly access files or other items in desk drawers? Do you use the keyboard and remain in the same position most of the day?
Try them out. At Twist, we carry a variety of ergonomic chairs that you can try out. Don't become concerned if you sit in an ergonomic chair and it feels uncomfortable. It probably just needs adjusting to your specific body type. Once you find a comfortable one, consider the following:
Height: You should be able to sit comfortable, feet flat on the floor with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Look for a seat with a pneumatic lever you can raise or lower while seated.
Arms: Armrests take the pressure off your shoulders and neck which is especially important if you sit at the computer for a significant part of the day. When typing, your forearms should be just above the armrest, with your elbows resting on it. Look for armrests that adjust for both height and position to accommodate different activities.
Back: We all have a natural curve in the lower part of our spine, and it's this area, the lumbar region, that ca cause the most problems if not properly supported. That's why a good ergonomic chair should include a lumbar support with adjustments for up and down, forwards and backwards to suit the natural angle of your spine. It should be high enough to support your shoulder and neck, while allowing for movement so you can reach for items when you need them. Spend a lot of time on the phone? You may want to check out chair backs that recline to suit your posture.
Seat width and depth: Look for a chair that gives enough depth in the seat so you have two to four inches betweent he back of your knees and the edge of the seat. The width should be at least one inch wider that your hips and thighs.
Headrests and footrests: These features aren't for everyone, but may be right for you. Headrests provide good support and prevent neck pain when talking on the phone in a more reclined position. If you want a footrest, select a free-standing one that allows you to rest you feet, keeping you knees at a 90 degree angle.
With so many options available, we can help you find the perfect chair to support your body and prevent muscle aches for years to come. Give us a call today and our furniture specialist will work with you to find the chair of your dreams.
How to Avoid "Text Neck" and "Vulture Neck" and Other Mobile Device Hazards
For centuries people have worn out their bodies on equipment designed to make life easier or work more productive. Over the years the prolonged and repetitive motion of sewing machines, looms, typewriters, assembly lines and other "modern" devices have brought long-term circulation and back problems to millions.
Now that we've replaced mechanical equipment with electronic, we face similar health issues especially with our increasing use of mobile devices. Tablets and smart phones force us to unnaturally crane our neck to read tiny screens and tap on tiny keys. It's no wonder many of us suffer from tired eyes, sore shoulders and aching backs. But there's good news. You can avoid "vulture neck" and other hazards by adopting a few simple habits when using your mobile device.
Buy right. Don't buy a larger screen than you need if a smaller, lighter model will do. Be sure to test the brightness of the display, especially if you'll be using indoors and out.
Straighten up. The problem is how these devices are held. Your non-dominant hand holds the tablet, while the dominant finger touches the screen, clenching the other fingers so they don't accidentally touch the screen. Although tablets are usually very light, even one weighing a few ounces can cause strain when used for long periods. Practice the same good posture you use for your computer: feet on the floor, shoulders and neck relaxed, arms to your side and back supported by a chair.
Adjust your seat. Part of the "vulture neck" comes from placing your tablet below your field of vision when seated. Adjust your seat so the screen is at or just below your field of vision when holding your head and neck comfortably.
Raise it. Keep your tablet raised to eye level by placing it on a table instead of holding it in your lap. Keep it propped up with a stand that allows it to stay upright. If you must hold it in your lap, or are reading while lying down, use a pillow to raise it up and bring the screen closer.
Consider a keyboard. Tablets are made for convenience and portability, not for creating big documents or inputting large amounts of data as they don't promote good posture or comfort. For that type of work use a laptop or desktop. If a tablet is your only option, adding a keyboard and mouse will decrease strain.
Keep moving. They call these mobile devices so you should move around, stretch, change positions and take frequent breaks to keep your muscles from cramping up and to keep your circulation flowing.
Smart Phone Tips
Smart phones are used more for texting, emailing and browsing than talking. The small keyboard and screen, the unnatural position of your arm, shoulder, back, hands and fingers encourage poor posture and can cause long-term muscle injury. Reduce the stress and strain by:
-Holding your neck and back upright. Avoid lowering your head or rounding your shoulders.
-Using the phone in its vertical position. This reduces the amount of space your thumbs and fingers will have to reach.
-Keeping your wrist straight.
-Creating shorter messages. Reduce the keystrokes, and you'll reduce hand and thumb movements.
-Using word or voice recognition. Although it can sometimes cause embarrassing communication gaffes, auto complete cuts down on keystrokes while voice recognition eliminates it.
-Trying a stylus. Select one with a comfortable grip where you don't need to hold it too tightly.
For additional ideas on how to make your mobile device more ergonomic, consult with your Twist OP representative who can provide all the help you need to make sure you're comfortable and pain-free wherever you go.
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Mom was right to tell you to stop slouching and sit up straight. Not only does good posture make you look taller and more confident, it also increases energy, improves breathing and keeps your back pain-free. Good posture ensures that you’re placing the least amount of strain on muscles and tendons. Whether sitting in front of the computer, standing, walking or lifting, always practice good posture.
1. Standing. Keep your feet a comfortable distance apart, typically no more than the breadth of your shoulders with equal weight distributed on each leg. Imagine a vertical line drawn from the center of your head through your shoulders and down to your pelvis. This is your perfect standing posture.
If your job requires you to stand for prolonged periods of time, consider using a foot rest to ease strain. If you need additional back support, steady yourself with a table or countertop, remembering to keep your head raised and spine straight. Individuals standing in the same spot all day should use a rubber mat on the floor to improve comfort.
2. Walking. Notice how people walk and you’ll see that many of us lean forward, creating stress on the back. Walk without tensing neck muscles, while keeping your pelvis straight and head level. With good posture, your head should almost feel weightless. Avoid flat-footed, “stomping,” but instead land softly on the heel, transferring weight onto the ball of the foot and finally the toes. Use purses, bags and backpacks designed to minimize back strain.
3. Sitting. With so many of us sitting at a desk all day, it’s natural to get tired and start slouching without even noticing it. To counter that, take full advantage of the chair’s features with your buttocks pushed all the way to the back of the seat. Once your pelvis supports your weight, you’ll notice how much easier it is to maintain good posture. Your knees should bend at a right angle and be about the same level as your hips. Use a small foot rest under your feet to achieve proper position if needed. Avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders or tilting the head. Give your shoulders and back muscles a break by using the arm rests.
4. Lifting. Incorrect lifting can contribute to severe, long-term debilitation. With that in mind, always plan before you lift. Keep objects close to your body rather than carried with outstretched arms. Even with light objects, maintain a straight back and use knee-bending actions not back-bending actions. Tighten your abdominal muscles for extra support. If lifting is part of your regular daily routine, invest in a back support or other related equipment.
5. Working at the Computer. In addition to practicing good sitting posture as previously discussed, working at a computer requires you to keep your arms and wrists aligned as well. Unnecessary strain is placed on the spine unless your chair, keyboard, mouse, and computer screen are all correctly positioned.
Place your monitor away from glare and at a distance of about an arm’s length when seated comfortably in front of it. Position the screen to your natural, resting eye position and avoid tilting your head forward. Use a book or stand to raise it if needed. Adjust your monitor’s brightness, contrast and font size to comfortable levels. When typing, keep your arms parallel to your legs with good support under your wrists. Relax your upper arms and shoulders. If possible, place your documents directly in front of you. Unfortunately, poor posture can easily become a habit, causing chronic discomfort. The good news is, the main factors affecting posture and ergonomics are completely under your control. By following the advice above you can prevent the problems associated with poor posture and stay healthy, productive, and most importantly, pain-free all day long.