Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Your Office Chairs Could be Hurting You

Most of us spend an average of eight to nine hours per day sitting down. If this is the case for you, stop and take a moment to evaluate how your body feels while seated for extended periods. Do you feel an ache in your back? Do you feel a slight numbness in your lower thighs or buttocks? Do you experience lethargy as a result of sitting? These symptoms usually stem from restricted blood circulation.

Believe it or not, these symptoms are completely normal, and they're not good. They may well be caused by doing precisely what you're doing, sitting. New studies in the fields of molecular biology, bio mechanics, epidemiology, and physiology is gravitating toward a startling conclusion. Sitting could be a risk to your health. Sometimes exercise alone can't offset the effects of consistently poor body position.

The general public needs to understand that the mechanics of sitting down are completely different than that of standing.Physicians recently determined that people with obesity have a natural predisposition to be attracted to a seated position and to chairs in general. That's true even after obese people lose weight. Physicians indicate that even when you're standing or just walking around, you're employing specialized sets of muscles designed for supporting your posture. These special muscle groups never tire.

When you are in a seated position these muscle groups are relaxed and enzyme production drops by 90 to 95 percent, leaving fat to lie dormant in the bloodstream. After being seated for several hours, healthy cholesterol drops by twenty percent. Older people who are active have approximately one half the mortality rate of their peers who are inactive. Folks who regularly surf the web or watch television develop higher rates of obesity, hypertension, high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol, and higher blood sugar regardless of their weight. On average, lean people stand for two hours per day or longer than their lesser active counterparts.

The chair you're currently seated in right now is more than likely contributing to the problem. For the most part you can't do much worse than sitting on a standard office chair. The spine wasn't meant to stay stationary for long periods of time when in a seated position. Using an easy to understand C or S shaped spinal analogy, it's easy to predict which of these shapes will collapse first when under duress. However, when you sit, the lower lumbar curve collapses, turning the spine's natural S shape into a C shape. This hinders abdominal and back muscles that support the body. The body is then left to assume a slumping position. As a result the lateral and oblique musculature weakens and is incapable of supporting body weight. This produces a chain reaction effecting the entire body.

You see, when you are sitting, you are supporting all of your weight through pelvis and spine. This puts pressure on the discs in your back. The chair industry produces an incredible volume of advertising which subsequently drives perceptions about what makes for a healthy and comfortable seated position. Generally speaking, perceptions regarding posture were formed in the sixties and seventies as complaints of back pain from employees started to be vocalized.

The primary problem, according to industry experts was the absence of lumbar support. Lumbar supports do not actually aid your spine. This perception has become deeply embedded in the mind of the general public but the perception is not based on actual experience.

Over the past 30 years, task chairs have more than tripled in sales, into more than a three million dollar market fueled by more than one hundred manufacturers. Some of the best selling US made chairs are ones that feature lumbar support. You may want to consider Office Chairs by OFM for your business. They boast most of the same ergonomic features as chairs up to 3 times the price.

Conventional thinking could be our biggest nemesis as relating to healthy posture because most buyers still prefer chairs that look like sporty chairs. Your chairs could be killing you, but it's more than likely your thinking and perception, which are advertising driven, that are ultimately the deadly culprit. Please consider important ergonomic features when shopping for your next office chair.


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