Can Chair Ergonomics can Make a Difference to You?

The other day when my colleague complained about his aching back, I realised that it has been quite a lot many times that he had referred to it. Sometimes he blamed it on his motorbike, sometimes the gym he occasionally visits, or his kids that he has to run after! As he got back to his desk, I saw the cause – his chair. His chair measurements as against his own, were extremely wrong. The scientific term? Chair Ergonomics.

chair ergonomics

It might come as a shock that your office chair can be a culprit lurking around, causing more damage than you can possibly imagine. It isn’t just your back that is at stake; from eye position to hands placement; from arching of the back, to the distance of the knees from the edge of the chair – all such measurements, or ‘Chair Ergonomics’ as it is called, should be accurate, and if possible, customised to the general population.

Chair ergonomics is the science focused on the study of human fit, and decreased fatigue & discomfort due to chair design. Chair ergonomics is an integral part of design, manufacturing, use and an overall infrastructural management of a company. Like light, noise, the ventilation of the premise, the desk and the chair is an important part of an office environment. It’s the area where an employee spends his maximum day and major hours of the work time.

The anthropometric study is the understanding of the human fit and sizes with respect to the design and comfort of the products. It is important to understand and carefully study the population’s body sizes which are the target for the product developed. For eg., Indian Population tends to be shorter and leaner than American counterparts.

Both Chair Ergonomics and Anthropometric Study are crucial to getting to the bottom of the rising discomfort and related disorders of the body.

Now in any workplace, there are 4 different ways that movement and body position changes; while the person is –

1. Moving
2. Sitting
3. Reaching
4. Standing

The widely relied on and dependable source for furniture and the ergonomic information is obtained from The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA), along with several other related organisations that provide guidelines as well as the documentation and reasons behind the same.

These guidelines from BIFMA help prevent several disorders which are caused due to improper body positioning. Some of these are –

1. Backache
2. Headache
3. Eye strain
4. Compromised Lumbar curvatures
5. Lack of knee movement causing compression of soft tissue behind the knees
6. Sitting disease – A metabolic disorder wherein, lipoprotein lipase enzymes (responsible for metabolizing fats and sugars in the bloodstream) go into sleep after 60 – 90 minutes of inactivity
7. Musculoskeletal Disorders (Injuries to ligaments, muscles, and bones, etc)
8. Repetitive Stress and Motion Injuries

All these disorders can be prevented or their effects can be minimised by utilizing Chair Ergonomics.

Remember, Chair Ergonomics is not the problem; it is the solution! – Anonymous.

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