Healthy, Comfortable and Ergonomic Sitting Guide
Head and Neck
To help keep neck muscles relaxed, a head or neck rest supports the nape of the neck, promoting a blood flow. This is ideal for those who have suffered a neck injury or experience neck pain as the headrest allows the muscles in the area to be rested periodically. A headrest will usually only come into play when the chair is slightly reclined.
Back and Spine
The chair back should always promote the natural 'S' Shape of the spine by offering support in the correct places. A beneficial backrest will provide lumbar support, promoting a healthy back posture, which reduces stress on the spinal column and pelvis as well as preventing hunching. As well as the shape of the back, the material should also be considered. A mesh back provides a wider range of contact with your back, promoting blood flow, however leather and fabric will feel firmer and may feel more supportive.
Torsion control allows you to adjust the tension of the tilt or the reclining position, to suit your body weight or depending on how much resistance you like to feel when leaning back. High tension promotes an upright sitting position whilst lowering the tension allows for a more dynamic position and encourages the use of your core muscles.
Your feet should either lay flat, comfortably touching the floor or at a slight angle on a foot rest, which helps promote a good blood flow by reducing the pressure on arteries behind the knee. The height of your chair plays a big part in positioning your feet correctly. Your feet shouldn't dangle and should be flat on the floor however having your chair too low can be bad for your posture and as much of your thigh should be in contact with the seat as possible. You should never cross your legs whilst sitting for prolonged periods as it can create numbness as well as problems in later life.
Below is a guide on the recommended positioning when working at a desk. This can vary from person to person and it is important that your working position suits you.
Correct Sitting Posture
Below is an example of the posture that is considered to be better for your spine.
Because of Discomfort at Work
Below is an infographic outlining how an uncomfortable chair, or workstation, can affect employees.
Armrests support the forearms and help reduce the strain on shoulder muscles. Adjustable arm rests are recommended as they allow the chair to be nearer to the desk, promoting both healthy back support, mouse use and wrist position. Padded armrests are recommended for extensive use as they ease the pressure placed on your arm. Your armrests should be positioned just slightly above the desk to reduce pressure on your wrists and to prevent strain or hunching of your shoulders.
Whilst seated your back should be angled at 90 and 135° to your thighs to help prevent stress on the lumbar and spinal disks. Your back should feel supported but not under pressure and it is recommended to refrain from staying in the same position for prolonged periods of time. A floating or reclining back can help solve this problem.
The full length and width of your thighs should be accommodated by the seat. A seat slide mechanism can help one chair accommodate the needs of individuals of differing sizes. Thighs, unless you are reclining, should be horizontal. For a more ergonomic recline position, the seat should recline with the back but at a 2:1 ration, meaning the seat tilts slower than the back reclines.
Users benefit from a waterfall seat design, which has a rounded edge to reduce pressure from behind the knee. This helps improve circulation and better blood flow helps with focus and motivation.
For info on the best way you can sit during work you can visit our Ergonomic Tips for sitting correctly at work page.