You are thinking of getting an ergonomic chair. Well done! Your decision to think ergonomic means you care about your skeletal joints so that you suffer less discomforts in daily life. My knowledge as a trained Occupational Therapist, along with our mission to protect your joints, preserve your energy and promote your safety will assure you that we genuinely want you make the right decisions in ergonomics for daily life.

What is an ergonomic chair? The word ergo is Latin for 'work' that describes its purpose. Occupational Therapists teach safe performance in functional tasks for daily living that includes all productive activities. Ergonomic chairs are used in all environments, but the office chair is my focus for this article, because they are becoming more prevalent in the home; since the advent of the computer. With increase in computer technology, along with access to the World Wide Web, a whole new world has been created in social media interaction. Ergonomic chairs have become a necessary inclusion in daily life, for helping preserve skeletal joints that support our bodies when sitting. Choosing an ergonomic chair begins with its purpose, as this determines how you sit in productive activity.

The chair parts are important for you to understand their purpose in functional movement. The base mechanism fits under the seat and provides mechanical features that will adjust the function of the chair. Some features are standard with ergonomic chairs, but need some explanation. The seat height adjustment changes the seat so that your hips remain at ninety degrees of flexion to the floor. This position creates a knock-on effect to your knees and ankles to also move into ninety degrees. The equal symmetry creates equal balance and weight distribution in your lower limbs joints. The swivel component is important for keeping your body central to the task being accomplished. You may need to move the whole seat, by using the casters.

The base mechanism has optional features like the seat slide, which moves the seat forwards or backwards. This provides greater depth or reduction to the seat and is only useful if you share the seat with someone taller or smaller than yourself. Remember that the seat length should not be any shorter or longer than four fingers measurement to your calf muscle, or it will constrict the blood flow of the superficial vessels in your lower limbs.

A tilt control feature is only of value to people suffering back discomforts. Allowing a moderate incline to the back rest will reduce the vertical pressure running through your back through each vertebra. If you don't suffer back discomfort, then the upright position provides optimum performance for comfort and safety (Unless you want nap in-between projects!)

The base sits on top of the mechanism and is your foundation for balance and flexibility. Consider choosing a base that fits your movement requirements and weight needs, but aim to strengthen this area for producing good sitting balance. If you need help with this area, then our company offers a free Therapeutic Active Living Plan with each chair we sell, that will help you activate your pelvic region in your chair.

The back support is supports your back, but not act as a 'prop' on stability. You weight needs to be on your pelvic bones, so that your back remains relaxed in an upright position. If you are suffering from back discomforts, then the sliding support mechanism is recommended. This provides an adjustable support that can be re-positioned according to any discomfort in your back, for creating comfort and ease when sitting. Back supports are a personal preference, determined by the shape of your back. Broad shouldered people will prefer the wider supports, whereas smaller frames should look for a narrower shaped support.

The position of your feet in sitting is important for balance and stability. Ideally they should be firmly placed on the ground, to balance the central core region of your body. However, sitting is a dynamic position, your feet should move, in relation to the position of your arms and legs for balance in your pelvic bones. This promotes an increase in your respiration through unrestricted breathing to your lungs and helps ease discomforts in your back when prolonged sitting. The automatic movement is needed, because your pelvic area gets starved of oxygen through the downward pressure of sitting which needs constant movement, to replenish oxygen in the muscles under your pelvis. It will help you understand the reasons for continuous movement between balance and stability in the pelvic region and its value for good posture when sitting.

Armrests are required for performing activity, but you want them for resting after performance. It is important to have adjustable height armrests, so the height can be changed, according to the heights of different people. If they are not adjustable, you will end up with tension in your shoulders, that result in discomfort. Make sure that when you use the arm rests, your shoulders are relaxed and the armrests allow your forearms to rest comfortably at a ninety degree angle.

Skeletal support and comfort are your priority when choosing an ergonomic chair. Feeling comfortable in sitting on your pelvic bones, creates the core foundation of sitting stability. Your back should feel comfortably relaxed with the back support, but not sedentary. Your back needs active movement, along with support, so that changes to your sitting balance are on your pelvis.

Ergonomic positioning comes from correct sitting in an ergonomic chair. It comes from moving your arms and legs in activity that helps restore balance in your pelvic region. Your base is the most important consideration, when purchasing an ergonomic chair. The rest of the components contribute to your comfort needs for making performance safe and comfortable.

In summary, ergonomic sitting is not a sedentary position. The ergonomic sitting position must always be active through shifting balance and stability in the pelvic region. This comes through using your arms and legs that work in harmony with the spine and pelvis, for creating a synchronized sitting position. Many people spend too much time in sedentary sitting positions that waste valuable energy in poor postures that contribute to the many of the medical problems that we see today. Practical solutions are available in other articles on our website that combat inactivity. Our company strives to encourage safe performance, using ergonomic daily living products. Since we are a new company, we have started by selling ergonomic seating. We offer a free "Therapeutic Active Living Plan" with purchase of any of our ergonomic chairs or stools. The free plan is designed to help customers see that exercise comes not just in recreational activities, but also in the way we apply movement to functional tasks in our daily living activities. The movements we perform generate exercise that we can translate into a simple therapeutic process for stimulating strength in our pelvic region and will ultimately improve muscular control in ergonomic sitting balance.

Author's Bio: 

Active Living Solutions Ltd is a new company, owned by Gail McGonigal, an Occupational Therapist who is creating a whole new niche market in ergonomic daily living products for comfortable living: She is starting her business selling ergonomic chairs, because she has a congenital back disorder. Gail has now overcome her functional discomforts in her back and wants to show you her method, using ergonomic sitting for creating safe, skeletal sitting movements in daily living.
Gail is specializing in working with the extra large and the very small person that is unable to fit into a normal-sized ergonomic chair: