Chances are, you spend a good chunk of the day in your office chair. Sitting for long hours can put pressure on your spine and cause discomfort over time, with extended periods of sitting even increasing risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. To ensure you avoid these problems, look for the best office chair for long hours that has these features:
- A backrest so you can get support from the lumbar spine: A chair with a backrest is more comfortable, and it also helps create the correct curve in your lower back. After all, it’s impossible to sit in a chair without putting pressure on our lower spine.
- Seat height and most importantly, the right height: If you’ve ever tried to work comfortably while sitting in an office chair that’s too low or too high, you’ll likely discover that a chair that is too low shifts your body weight too far forward and can aggravate your low back pain. Settle on a height that matches or approaches exactly where your hips measure from their largest depth to the floor.
- A well-padded seat: A chair with a well-padded seat will distribute your body weight evenly and add support to the soft tissue in the back of your hip. This is particularly important for you if you have hip osteoarthritis, or if you are at risk for it due to a sedentary job, obesity or family history.
- A contoured backrest that fits your body: Most office chairs come with widely adjustable backrests; however, not all of them will fit comfortably with your body type. Also, make sure to avoid a chair with a rigid backrest that can put pressure on your lower back, because it’s likely to make you uncomfortable.
- Adjustable arms and seat height: A chair with adjustable arms can help you find the right height that works for your body and posture. As with the backrest, make sure your arms are at the right angle to allow your elbows to rest comfortably on your corner desk, not in front of you or behind you. Also, since it’s important to avoid tilting forward while seated, look for a chair with adjustable seat heights. If a chair is too high or too low, you’ll likely have bad posture and be more prone to neck and shoulder pain as well as back pain.
- Armrests that are adjustable too: Make sure to look for a chair with adjustable arms that are in the right place so you can comfortably put your arms on top of the armrests and not have them smack your wrists or elbows.
- A seat cushion that has a foam core: Foam is a great choice for office chairs because it’s comfortable, supportive and lasts longer than thinner gel-padded seats. Also, since a chair’s foam cushions wear out over time, you’ll want to make sure it has a core material that won’t break down too quickly over time.
- Optional extras: Other options to look for in an office chair include a lumbar cushion and an ergonomic headrest. Depending on your workplace, a headrest may actually help you work more efficiently by providing support for your neck while you’re typing at your desk.
Other tips: Whether you have back pain or not, experts agree that it’s important to take breaks when sitting for extended periods of time. While ergonomics are important, movement is also key! So get up and move around every hour or two for two minutes at a time. This can help you avoid muscle stiffness and improve circulation too. Another helpful trick is to change the position of your chair periodically so you’re not always sitting in the same spot.
- Other features to consider: A locking, tilt-adjustable mechanism or hydraulic pistons are all nice extras since they help you find the right angle that is comfortable for your body’s natural position. Also, make sure to pick a chair that has a soft back, like leather or fabric; avoid a hard aluminum frame that could irritate your skin over time.
If you’re looking for the best office chair for your body type and posture, consider a chair with features that put you in a better position for your neck, back and hips. And don’t forget to consider the materials used in the chair’s design (such as foam cores or leather) to make sure it will feel comfortable on your skin over time.