We spend long hours on our chairs behind computers and seldom think about the consequences of sitting on the wrong office chair. According to statistics released by BigThink.Com, people spend an astonishing 7709 days of their lives, or roughly 30%, sitting! If we consider that eight hours of this is spent at offices hunched over a computer, then it’s clear that it’s vital to have a good office chair.
Dr. Edward Laskowski from the Mayo Clinic, says “…people who sit for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity, have a risk of dying similar to the risk of dying posed by obesity and smoking”.
What are the effects of sitting on an incorrect chair? Apart from affecting posture, causing fatigue, head and neck pain, a bad office chair is unhealthy.
The 5 consequences of sitting on the wrong chair
a) Poor blood circulation
Believe it or not, a chair can affect the blood flow in your body. If your chair is not adjusted properly it can cause poor blood flow to your shoulders, legs, back and neck. What is a good sitting position at the office?
You can offset that risk somewhat by exercising regularly, but the hours in your chair will still take a toll. Add to this that most of us also sit a fair amount when we aren’t at work, and the problem only gets worse. The dangers of sitting – why sitting is the new smoking.
A study by the American College of Sports Medicine, found that men who spent more than 23 hours per week sitting and watching television, had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than men who only watched television for 11 hours.
Furthermore, people who sit more have a 147 percent higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
b) Increased body fat and weight gain
Sitting on the wrong type of chair for long hours leads to a lack of movement and action. Work pressure may even result in you having your lunch at your table and resuming your tasks right away. It is important to keep your body and mind healthy to reduce stress at work. Take the time to move and do office exercises and stretches for all parts of your body.
Moving causes your muscles to release molecules like lipoprotein lipase, which helps process the fats and sugars you eat. According to the American Journal of Physiology, if you spend most of your day sitting, the release of these molecules is reduced and you put on weight.
Studies have shown that men who sit for long periods every day, gained more weight around their stomach, which is the most dangerous place to store fat.
c) Decreased concentration and increased fatigue
Using an incorrect chair may result in lack of concentration simply because being uncomfortable will distract you. You will end up spending more time trying to find a comfortable posture for your body, and adjusting and re-adjusting your position to get relaxed.
If your spine is not in alignment, the rest of your muscles have to compensate to help you stay upright. This can lead to feelings of increased fatigue and what the Washington Post calls a “foggy brain” from a lack of fresh blood and oxygen. Muscles that are active, will pump blood and oxygen to the brain. When we sit for extended periods, everything slows down which increases fatigue. The correct setup of your chair and desk can reduce fatigue and increase productivity. Best practices for ergonomics in the workplace.
d) Back, neck and shoulder pain
Sitting on a bad office chair, or one that is incorrectly adjusted, can result in common posture-related hazards. A spine that doesn’t move become inflexible and pain may result, most commonly in the lower back, neck, shoulders and hips. A poor sitting posture can cause compression of the discs in your spine and lead to premature degeneration and chronic pain.
An office chair that provides dynamic sitting encourages movement, particularly in the lower back and hips. This not only reduces the incidence of back pain, but the added muscular movement increases blood circulation and reduces fatigue. A chair that is set at the incorrect height relative to your desk or working surface, can cause neck and shoulder pain. To prevent or reduce back, neck and shoulder pain, it is vital to ensure both your office chair and your desk are correctly adjusted.
e) Digestive problems
Believe it or not, sitting may lead to indigestion. As you know, digestion plays an important role in keeping the body healthy and fit. The food will reach the cells of the body only if it is dissolved properly in the bloodstream. Sitting idle in an ill-fitting chair for many hours can slow down this process.
The consequences of sitting on the wrong chair not only affects your performance, but also your health and wellbeing. If you have a desk job, it’s important to note when your chair needs replacing and invest in a good quality chair to avoid the problems mentioned above.