The 5 consequences of sitting on the wrong chair

We spend many hours hunched over a computer. The wrong chair can impact our health.

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In our fast-paced world, where technological advancements have become an integral part of our daily lives, the significance of our sedentary lifestyle often goes unnoticed. We spend long hours on our office chairs behind computers and seldom think about the consequences of sitting on the wrong office chair. According to a revealing statistic from BigThink.Com, the average person spends approximately 30% of their life sitting; that’s equivalent to a staggering 7709 days or 21 years! As we dedicate a significant portion of our time at work sitting behind a computer, the importance of having the right office chair becomes glaringly apparent. What actually happens when you sit? In this comprehensive exploration, we will unravel the multifaceted consequences of improper seating. Drawing from a diverse array of expert insights, we will underscore the pivotal role that a high-quality office chair plays in safeguarding our overall wellbeing and productivity.

The 5 consequences of sitting on the wrong chair

1. Poor blood circulation

Beyond the immediate discomfort associated with prolonged sitting, in July 2022 Dr Edward Laskowski from the Mayo Clinic cautioned:

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”

This startling revelation aligns with the findings of MedicalNewsToday, whose researchers reported in January 2024 that “people who predominantly sat at work showed a higher risk of mortality from all causes (16%) and cardiovascular disease (34%) compared to those who usually didn’t sit, after adjusting for gender, age, education, smoking, drinking, and body mass index.”

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 this risk somewhat by exercising regularly, but the hours in your chair will still take a toll. To compound the issue, most of us also sit a fair amount when we aren’t at work, for example driving and watching TV, and so 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% higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

the 5 consequences of sitting on the wrong chair

What are the consequences of sitting on the wrong chair?

Apart from affecting posture, causing fatigue, head and neck pain, sitting on a bad office chair is simply unhealthy.

2. Increased body fat and weight gain

Sitting on the wrong type of office chair for long hours leads to a lack of movement and action, which is why a good ergonomic chair with Dynamic Sitting capability is vitally important. 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.

being overweight is one of the consequences of sitting on the wrong chair

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.

3. Decreased concentration, increased fatigue and poor brain health

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 “foggy brain” from a lack of fresh blood and oxygen. 10 things that are making you tired at work.

Muscles that are active will pump blood and oxygen to the brain.

When we sit statically for extended periods, everything slows down which increases fatigue. A chair that allows dynamic sitting which is correctly adjusted for your workstation, can reduce fatigue and increase productivity.

medical orthopedic task chairs are good for sciatica
Spinal alignment on an orthopedic office chair
“Sitting too much is linked to changes in a section of the brain that is critical for memory. It can be a precursor to cognitive decline and dementia in middle-aged and older adults.”

4. Back, neck and shoulder pain are among the consequences of sitting on the wrong chair

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. In April 2024, News24.com reported that “lower back pain is the single biggest cause of disability in 160 countries.”

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.

What is the correct ergonomic height for my desk, computer monitor and office chair?

To prevent or reduce back, neck and shoulder pain, it is vital to ensure both your office chair and your desk are correctly adjusted.

“Prolonged sitting puts significant stress on spinal structures as well as other joints, such as the shoulders and hips, especially when sitting with poor posture."

5. 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.  

Sitting on the wrong chair has economic consequences

The Economic Cost of Poor Seating

Beyond the health implications, poor seating choices can also have significant economic consequences for businesses. A study in April 2022 discussed How Ergonomics in the Office Helps to Increase Productivity. Employees with proper ergonomic support reported higher job satisfaction and efficiency, contributing to a more positive and productive work environment. Video Guide: How to Set Up your Office Chair and Workstation

Ergonomics and Office Design

The significance of ergonomic office furniture extends beyond individual health to impact the broader realm of office design.

Well-designed office spaces with ergonomic furniture not only enhance employee wellbeing but also foster creativity and innovation. The layout and selection of furniture contribute to a workspace that promotes collaboration and efficiency.

Investing in Employee Wellbeing

Forward-thinking companies are increasingly recognising that investing in employee wellbeing is a WIN-WIN. In July 2023, the World Economic Forum stated that a healthy workforce is good for business and drives economic growth. By providing employees with ergonomic office furniture, companies demonstrate a commitment to their staff's health and productivity, ultimately fostering a positive corporate culture.

Conclusion

Beyond the routine hustle, the consequences of sitting on the wrong chair are profound, affecting not only our comfort but also our health and general wellbeing. Recognising these signs and investing in a high-quality ergonomic office chair isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessary step towards a healthier, more productive life.

In this comprehensive exploration, we have delved into the multifaceted consequences of improper seating, drawing from a diverse array of expert insights to underscore the pivotal role that a high-quality office chair plays in safeguarding our overall wellbeing and productivity. From the physiological implications of poor blood circulation to the economic cost of suboptimal seating in the workplace, the evidence is clear:

Creating an ergonomic workstation is an investment in health, productivity, and a positive work environment.

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