How Office Chairs Can Be Adapted to Promote Health

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How Office Chairs Can Be Adapted to Promote Health

Office workers spend the majority of their time sitting at their desks, often adding up to eight or more hours a day. The comfort and overall support of a chair is vital for promoting and maintaining health because of the amount of time people spend sitting in it. Office chairs play a large role in back health for office workers. If an office chair does not provide enough support and comfortability, it can strain a person's back. In order to have an office chair that is comfortable and promotes health for employees, it must be adjustable.

There are many factors that can adjust for the comfortability of users. Office chairs can be purchased at department stores, office supply shops, and the online auction website, eBay. Selecting the best office chair may seem difficult at first. Once a buyer has a better understanding of the variations that office chairs have to promote health and comfortability, shopping for one is much simpler. Factors to consider before purchasing an office chair include: posture and body characteristics, back support, seat support, position and height, materials, and construction.

Posture and Body Characteristics

The proper way of sitting in an office chair is with feet flat on the floor, thighs horizontal, slight back recline, shoulders behind the hips, lumbar curvature supported, shoulder blades supported, and shoulders relaxed with elbows under the shoulders. Finding a chair to fit all of these needs may seem like a daunting task, but with the right research and an adjustable chair, it should be no problem at all. Most chairs are designed to fit the average- to large-sized person. There is not a single chair that is designed to fit all workers, and just because it is adjustable does not mean it is adjusted already to the correct specifications of the person using it.

Short Lower Legs

Lower legs are considered fairly short if the length from the floor to the back of the knee is less than 40 cm. An office chair that promotes health needs to be able to be adjusted so that the hips are as low as the knees, allowing the seated person to relax against the back of the seat and relieve lower back strain. One way to test if the seat is low enough for short lower legs is by placing a pencil on the seated person's lap, and if it rolls off, then the seat needs to be readjusted lower. If the seat is positioned too high for someone with shorter lower legs, it causes the worker to lean forward, creating pressure behind the knee.

Slender Body Type

The main feature that a person with a slender body type needs to consider is armrest width. Slender people may continually have the same problem: armrests on most chairs are too far apart. A buyer must look at the actual specifications of the armrest width, just because an office chair is labelled "petite" or "A-size" does not mean it is the correct width for a slender person. The armrests should be able to support the seated person's elbows while working.

Large Torso

The two features that a buyer with a large torso needs to consider include weight and size. Weight affects the chair's durability and the backrest and spring tension. Most office chairs are designed for people weighing between 115 kg to 135 kg. If a person using the chair weighs more than 135 kg, the chair is still able to hold the person, but the adjustable parts need maintenance sooner. Some office chairs come with back recline, and it is important that the chair has enough spring tension to support the torso in an upright position. Even if a person weighs less than 135 kg, but has a large torso due to pregnancy, broad shoulders, or weight, special considerations need to be made. It is essential that the armrest be adjustable to alter the armrest width, height, and location to provide greater comfortability and health.

Office Chair Ergonomics

Repetitive stress, injury, and back pain are associated with sitting for long periods of time. Therefore, office chair ergonomics are designed with adjustable seats, armrests, back, back supports, and heights to minimise the pain.

Office Ergonomics


Chair height

Adjust height so feet are flat on floor, knees are level with hips, and there is back support


Sit straight up and keep arms level or slightly tilted upwards

Wrist positioning

Keep wrists in a straight, natural position

Monitor height

Placed arm's length away, approximately 46 to 71 cm


Used to make sure feet are flat on the floor

The chair height, posture, wrist positioning, monitor height, and footrest are all important factors to consider when purchasing an office chair to promote health. By following the guidelines about distances and positioning, the seated person is able to be more comfortable and thus reduce stress and the number of injuries.

Back Support

The back support is a major deciding factor when choosing an office chair based on comfortability and promoting health. Backrests are used to provide support for the lumbar spine. Contoured backrests are beneficial for promoting health because they match the natural curve of a seated person's spine. Adjustable contoured backrests allow a seated person to adjust it to his or her needs. The back support should be angled to increase well being. The chair should be reclined slightly so that the shoulders are behind the hips. When a person is seated in the chair, he or she should be able to relax the back and let the chair support him or her.

Seat Support

Seat support is a vital ergonomic function. The seat needs to be firm enough to support the weight evenly, and soft enough to fit to the form of a person sitting in the chair. Waterfall seats slope down in front slightly, in order to help improve the circulation to the legs and prevent leg fatigue.

Position and Height

Adjustable office chairs can vary by seat height, lumbar height, and armrests. The seat height should be high enough so that a person's thighs are horizontal with a person's heels on the floor. If the height of a workstation can be adjusted, then first customise the chair height to specifically fit the person sitting in the chair, and adjust the workstation so it is even. If the height of the office desk cannot be adjusted, then situate the seat height so the person seated can comfortably lean against the backrest and comfortably place arms on the arm rest. If the seated person's feet do not reach the floor when sitting comfortably at the height of the work station, then a footrest is recommended. The armrests of office chairs play a large role in encouraging health. The armrests need to be adjusted so that they are directly under a seated person's elbows. The recommended height of the armrest pads is 1.3 cm to the unsupported elbow height. If a chair is purchased and the armrests are not adjustable, then it is recommended to rest the forearms on the workstation in order to prevent neck, shoulder, and upper back stress.

Materials and Construction

Office chairs are made up of a variety of fabrics, and selecting one is based on personal preference. Some materials that make up office chairs include: mesh, moulded foam, top grain leather, and imitation leather. Mesh is beneficial in hot, humid climates because it allows air to circulate. Moulded foam chairs are one of the most common types of office chairs; the moulded foam contours the shape of the body. Top grain leather office chairs are commonly found in executive offices. Leather can be uncomfortable in hot environments without air conditioning. Finally, imitation leather looks similar to top grain leather, but it is easier to clean and more durable.

How to Buy Office Chairs on eBay

Once a buyer is ready to purchase an office chair that can promote healthy living, it is time to start shopping. eBay provides plenty of options when it comes to purchasing an office chair. At the top of every eBay page, there is a search box. A buyer can simply type "office chair" into the search box, click search, and thousands of results appear. A buyer can then click on one of the office chairs in which he or she is interested, and read the specifications to see if it includes everything for which he or she is looking.

Understanding Sellers

It is important for a buyer to evaluate a seller before making a purchase. A buyer should ask themselves a series of questions regarding a seller before making a purchase. Issues to consider include: seller's feedback rating, number of transactions completed, percentage of positive responses, and evaluate the return policy. Another type of seller to consider is the local seller. There are multiple benefits of purchasing an item from a local seller, including less shipping time, and if a seller and buyer are in close proximity and are comfortable enough, a local pickup is always an option.


Selecting the most efficient office chair is an important decision because office workers spend the majority of their time sitting in their chairs. In order to minimise injuries and maximise health, there are specific characteristics to take into consideration when purchasing an office chair. The characteristics include: posture and body type, office chair ergonomics, materials, and construction. Alterations can be made to accommodate this for people with shorter lower legs, large torsos, and slender body types.

Office chair ergonomics include back support, seat support, and the position and height of the chair. Purchasing an adjustable chair is a sure way to promote health. For example, if a person's feet could not touch the ground and his arms did not rest on the armrests, he or she can develop neck and back pain from constantly reaching for objects. Finally, office chairs come in a variety of materials including: mesh, moulded foam, fine leather, and imitation leather. Fortunately, eBay provides a wide variety of office chairs in order to meet every buyer's personal preference.

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