How to Find the Right Computer Desk Chair
The Computer Desk Chair Defined
Definition of Computer Chair: an office chair designed for people who remain seated for extended periods of time with their eyes focused on a primary visual target (a monitor) and primary manual target (keyboard and mouse).
Homo Sapien to Homo Sedens
The advent of the computer brought to workforces around the world an increasingly sedentary posture. Creating and filing documents did not require exiting the chair nearly as much as typewriters etc. This also led to the application of ergonomics, originally established as a science to help design and develop better man-machine interfaces for things like airplanes and heavy equipment, to the study of productivity in the modern office.
What has happened in the past 10 years is that the internet has dramatically increased the amount of time people can spend sedentary every day. Between sitting during long commutes to and from work, long days at work and then nights and weekends spent surfing the net or playing games online, many people get far too little of the one thing every body needs: natural human motion.
What healthcare providers and ergonomists recognized was the need for a desk chair that properly and comfortably supports the use of a computer, whether for work or pleasure, while at the same time supporting the kind of motion that a body needs to reduce stress and stay healthy.
Some Rules Apply
Specific to a computer, one dictum is absolutely true: the eyes lead the body. No matter how you may try to maintain a good posture, if your primary visual target, the monitor, is not properly positioned, you will subconsciously adjust your head to position your eyes so they can focus on the screen.
A second dictum is also true: engaging a lot of muscles to position your hands for use of the keyboard and mouse leads to stress that, given enough time, will cause such injuries as carpal tunnel syndrome. So not only must the monitor be at the right height and distance for easy reading, the keyboard and mouse must also be at the right height and angle for easy access by the hands.
A third dictum applies to desk computer users: very few people will take time to consciously adjust their chair to support postural changes because they become absorbed in their work or play. For this reason, it is imperative that a desk computer chair is self-adjusting.
What A Computer Chair Must Do
A great computer chair will support the body so it may comfortably operate in a highly restrictive workspace where almost nothing moves but the fingers, and at the same time the chair will promote and support even the smallest of movements so the body and especially the spine are not locked. In other words, a great computer chair will be both highly adjustable and self-adjusting.
The problem for conventional “ergonomic chairs” is that they offer adjustments to the seat, backrest, headrest and armrests through an incredible number of knobs and levers, and almost no one will take the time to learn to use them. Hence for many, an ergonomic chair is frustrating and often goes unadjusted, actually hurting the occupant more than helping. For too many others, an ergonomic chair used with a computer becomes a very elegant “straightjacket,” making you so comfortable for the moment that you lull your body to a state of rest and ignore the call to action, to move.
“Neutral Posture” refers to the resting position of each joint-the position in which there is the least tension or pressure on nerves, tendons, muscles and bones. It is also the position in which muscles are at their resting length-neither contracted nor stretched. Muscles at this length can develop maximum force most efficiently. One aspect of ergonomic redesign is the reworking of tools, work stations and processes to allow the worker’s joints to remain in neutral position as much as possible.
Many people misunderstand this term thinking that if they get their chair adjusted just right, they will be both comfortable and safe. However, comfort is more than adjusting a chair and having an aha moment. Real comfort that is lasting and healthy recognizes that there is no such thing as one neutral posture that can be maintained all day without risk of severe damage to the body. When you sleep at night, your body naturally moves and adjusts its posture. While a comfortable mattress reduces this so that you can sleep more deeply, you still move.
Thus, a great computer desk chair must be both adjustable and self adjusting, to support the body’s need to move.
Computer Chairs And Ergomotion
Your body’s need to move is one reason that ergonomics now includes kinesiology, the study of human motion. As our work and our play increasingly become sedentary, we need chairs that will encourage and support safe, natural human motion. Helping us become less Homo Sedens and more Homo Active. Helping us stay productive, pain-free and healthy.
SmartMotion Technology is the first company to offer an ErgoMotion chair. SmartMotion’s SwingChair automatically adjusts the position of the seat and backrest the moment you sit down and every time you move. It gently guides your natural motion to not just support your back but actually reduce the load placed on your hips and spine from sitting.