Ergonomics can be traced back to ancient Greece, where Hippocrates described the best posture for daily activities as well as how to use ergonomic tools and equipment. In his writings on how to design a surgeon’s workplace and arrange tools to maximize safety and efficiency, he used ergonomic principles as the basis for his ideas on how to arrange tools to maximize safety, efficiency, and ease of use.
Other scientists after Hippocrates recognized that a number of illnesses of workers were caused by the cumbersome posture and repetitive movements required for professions such as shoemaking, tailoring, and writing. Preventive measures based on ergonomics had to wait until 1851 when the first “ergonomic” chair made of velvet that could swivel and tilt in any direction made its debut in London at the Great Exhibition. Back then, people called the chair immoral. It was too comfortable.
Office Chairs Became Ergonomic in the 1900s
Office chairs that were ergonomic emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1920s, a backrest was thought to make you lazy. By the 1970s, chairs started really taking on more of an ergonomic style and feel, and by the 1980s, they were backed by science.
How are Regular Chairs Different from Ergonomic Chairs in Benefits?
Normal everyday chairs are vastly different from ergonomic chairs. If a chair is ergonomic, it can help you in seven different ways:
- It helps you retain your energy until the end of your workday. You won’t fatigue from sitting at your desk if your chair is ergonomic.
- It allows you to stretch your spine and legs to prevent getting stiff.
- It helps you sit more comfortably while minimizing long-term damage to your body.
- An ergonomic chair allows you to do various activities at your desk with minimal stress on joints.
- It supports good posture, and you won’t feel slouching when sitting in a chair.
- It reduces neck pain and neck problems as well as back pain and back problems.
- An ergonomic chair reduces pressure on your hips.
Features of an Ergonomic Chair
A chair is ergonomic if it contains the following features:
- pneumatic or hydraulic adjustment to adjust the height of the seat.
- the ability to adjust the depth of your seat for maximum blood flow and to prevent deep vein thrombosis. The distance between the edge of your seat and the back of your knees should be ¼ inch.
- the ability to adjust your backrest so your back is optimally supported
- arm support and the ability to adjust the arms
- quality casters to roll the chair
- back angle adjustment, which allows you to turn the back of your chair to a comfortable position or angle to avoid pressure on your spine.
- headrest adjustment (preferred but not required)
- back tilt tension knob to allow you to set the pressure you need when you decide to roll back in your chair
Why Should Ergonomic Chairs Get Better?
Ergonomic chairs continue evolving and the next generation of chairs will consider the latest research on sitting. The longer we sit per day, the more likely we are to develop chronic illness and even heart disease. Sitting harms your health, increasing your risk of developing obesity, high blood sugar, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, cancer, and even early death. But eventually, the ergonomic chairs are designed for comfortable sitting, NOT to help avoid the symptoms of the sitting disease which are caused by, well, sitting too long without movement or muscle engagement.
Exercise 60 minutes per day is what is needed to overcome sitting disease, but who has that much time when you’re working 9-5 or in higher executive positions that require 10+ hours of work per day? It’s easier to get some exercise while you are at work sitting in your chair.
For example, the Acharya chair is already ahead of the game in this area. The chair converts to an ergonomic desk chair in seconds. While you sit in it, you can activate core muscles by making the chair tilt and swivel; it’s similar to balancing your body on a balance ball. The chair improves your posture and blood circulation. You can also use your feet while sitting. Your muscles are contracting; you are just sitting there but in order to sit, you use your core muscles and adverting the effects of the sitting disease.
Meanwhile, you are comfortable in the Acharya chair. You get a plush cushion and also lumbar support that is adjustable to your body. You’ll notice greater productivity and better moods after using an Acharya chair. And you can turn off the mechanism that enables your core muscles any time you’d like, simply deciding you only want to use it as a regular office task chair.
Ergonomic chairs are a step up from regular chairs, active sitting is the real solution to avoid the sitting disease symptoms, which makes the Acharya the next generation of office chairs.