An Office Chair Can’t Kill You — But Here’s What Will
by Jenny Lockhart on 9/13/16
From squishy armchairs that recline for napping to floral, mid-century dining seats, I grew up sitting in a lot of different chairs. I curled up and read books in chairs. I sat for hours doing homework (or, more likely, chatting on MSN Messenger) in chairs.
And now, I find out chairs are killing me:
Has my lifelong relationship with chairs been a lie? Are chairs really out to get me? I set out to do some research to see if my beautiful red office chair was really red rum.
It turns out, chairs aren’t going to kill us — unless we let them.
Office Life Can Be Dangerous
There are a host of physical and mental problems that come from office life. And if you listen to those articles above, chairs are the ones at fault.
But instead of blaming all the ills of the world on comfy, cozy chairs, I’m going to let you in on the secrets to solving (some of) your work problems.
We’ve talked before about the eye strain that comes from working in a modern office. This can happen whether you’re seated or standing, though. No need to blame your chair!
The answer to headaches and blurry vision is the 20/20/20 rule: look away from your computer every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, at something at least 20 feet away. Set yourself a calendar reminder if you don’t think you’ll remember.
Health problem number one resolved.
The biggest complaint of today’s office workers is pain. Pain in shoulders and backs. Pain in hands and necks. It’s the worst Seuss-ical story ever.
Every tale of office discomfort starts with ergonomics. This fancy term for posture is vitally important whether you sit or stand at work.
If you’re slumped over at your desk, you’re doing it wrong. It’s bad for your lungs, your heart, and your brain (because your brain depends on your heart and lungs, it turns out) — not to mention your spine and muscles.
Just last year, we realized we were all guilty of some pretty bad posture at 9 Clouds. To help us sit up a little straighter, we ordered desk risers from Amazon to boost our computer monitors. That way, we could stare straight at our screens (not down).
An American anthropologist went around the country studying office lunches and came to this conclusion: “The way people eat at work is pretty sad.’’
Don’t believe her? Check out this blog.
The biggest reason behind this truly pathetic lunching is that most people (62%) don’t leave their desk to eat. For a lot of people, this leads to unhealthy choices and weight gain.
This work problem doesn’t seem to be an issue because of the office chair. It’s because people aren’t leaving their chair. And that takes us to the crux of the whole issue: movement is necessary.
Move your eyes, move your spine, and move your butt to the break room for lunch. Not only will it help you de-stress by engaging with other humans, but bringing your own lunch and walking to the break room to eat it is an easy solution to a big problem.
Office Life Shouldn’t Be Dangerous
The brilliant folks over at Scientific American wrote, “Simple movement has dramatic health effects.”
And that’s it. Simple movement throughout the day is an important part of health. There are a lot of clickbait headlines out there telling you that your desk chair is going to kill you, but the truth is that inactivity is going to kill you.
At 9 Clouds, we aim to live productive lives — both in and out of the office — and we hope you join us. For more of our best tips for office productivity, download our Guide to Business Productivity eBook.
Originally published at 9clouds.com on September 13, 2016.