The more we sit and compute, the more of an adversarial role we tend to take with our chairs. Just recently the Posture Police were called in to resolve the fight pictured above between a beagle and lounge chair.
Earlier this week Businessweek published an interview with Alexander Technique teacher, Teva Bjerken advising on chairs in a SOHO furniture shop. At the end of the article, she idicates after having rated many chairs, that if the person uses their body poorly, they may use any chair poorly. Agreed! A well-designed chair does not guarantee that a person will sit in it well. Nonetheless, a chair designed well for the purposes of working at a computer can encourage less strenuous sitting.
Here are some guidelines to consider when purchasing a desk chair or modifying one that you already have.
1. It's the right size - Make sure that you can adjust the chair so that your feet touch the floor when you are sitting all the way back. A foot rest and or added back support can help if you would prefer to modify a chair you already have.
2. Not too cushy - Whether you'd like cushioning at all is up to you, but either way you should ideally be able to feel the firm surface of the seat of the chair. Sitting on something firm helps to prevent us from sinking down and too much cushioning near the front of the seat can put a lot of pressure on the backs of the thighs.
3. Angle of seat - Make sure that the seat isn't angled back. Instead check that it's flat or even angled slightly forward and down toward your feet. This will help to keep your thighs from tensing up. A foam wedge can do the trick if you'd like to modify a chair that you already have.
4. Back of Chair - For working at a computer, make sure that the back is straight up and that when you lean back, you're butt is all the way back in the corner so that you use the support and don't slump. Save chairs that angle back for lounging.
So, Snoopy, after taking these tips into consideration, have you decided on a chair that will suit your needs?
You manage to sit human-style with very little trouble. No chair required. You look upright and comfortable. Is that a PC or a Mac you are using?
Check out the Businessweek article for more information on choosing a chair.