Why your office chair is harming your health

Wednesday, 29 July, 2020

Why your office chair is harming your health

What would you say if someone told you that you spend an average of 6.3 hours every day damaging your health?

According to Office National CEO Gavin Ward, that is exactly how long office workers spend sitting at their desks every day.

“You wouldn’t spend 6.3 hours a day deliberately causing harm to yourself in other ways, so why are so many Australians spending that same amount of time seated in a chair that makes their back feel worse than it did at the start of the day?” Ward asked.

“Your office chair is killing you. It is time to take back those 6.3 hours from the soul-sucking office chair causing your discomfort and find your perfect match.”

A Safe Work Australia report reveals that sedentary behaviour is common in Australia and is linked with an increased risk of premature mortality, chronic health disorders and detrimental work outcomes.

The report found sedentary behaviour to be detrimentally associated with all-cause mortality, cardio-metabolic outcomes (including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity), some cancers, mental ill health and health-related quality of life.

“The majority of these associations remain even after allowing for the impact of physical inactivity, thereby underlining that sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity need to be considered as separate health hazards,” the authors wrote.

Ward explained why a whole host of Australians need to break up with their current office chair:

I don’t even want to know the last time it was cleaned…

How old is your chair? How long has your butt been on it, or anyone else’s butt for that matter?

“Your office chair is a breeding ground for germs. We put our body on them, we drop food on them, and we cough and yawn on them, which can cause growth of all sorts of nasty bacteria and germs,” Ward said.

“I recommend ditching your old, unhygienic office chair and opting for something that is made of an easy-clean fabric such as a high-quality material, leather or plastic. Simply wiping your chair at the beginning of your day with a mild antiseptic will be the answer to a long-term happy and healthy relationship.”

Your chair does no favours for your physique

“Chairs are generally designed to suit 90–95% of the adult population; however, if you are particularly tall, short or large or of a particular body shape you may need a special chair. Let’s face it — most of us really fall into this category,” Ward said.

“Sitting has been recognised as one of the worst things we can do for our bodies over a long period of time. So, it is important that when we are sitting, we are in a chair that provides the right support and structure for our unique physique.”

Finding a chair that complements your physique can be difficult. That is why, according to Ward, office and stationery supplier Office National has a personalised service in-store and online to find your perfect match.

If you require something taller, shorter or with a greater weight holding, Office National will independently source the right chair for you.

You and your chair are not well suited

“If you have had a back or muscle issue, or you’re carrying other issues such as injuries, ailments — chances are you have heard about how poorly sitting can affect your posture. Spending those 6.3 hours a day with a chair that does not facilitate good posture or support your lower back can be detrimental to your health — especially your long-term health,” Ward said.

According to Ward, a rounded exercise-ball-style of seat encourages the user to engage their abdominal muscles while sitting, thus increasing core strength, improving posture and decreasing discomfort. Chairs such as Safco Zenergy Swivel Ball chairs are becoming increasingly popular.

Ready to say a final goodbye to your office chair?

Roll in the stand-up office desk!

“A stand-up office desk is effectively the antidote to your killer office chair. Stand-up desks are proven to reduce back pain, but also boost your productivity and energy, benefit your heart health and lower your blood sugar levels,” Ward said.

“It is generally accepted that the more time you spend sitting, the greater your risk of developing heart disease — so I think it is time we all take the stand.

“Stand-up office desks are one of our biggest sellers. The Conset height-adjustable range offers a broad selection of options for every working environment.”

It is time to move on

“When comparing an afternoon of sedentary work to the same amount of time standing — the difference is over 170 calories. Consuming more calories than we’re burning ultimately causes weight gain. This explains the close link between sitting for longer periods of time and obesity — not giving your body the opportunity to burn additional calories,” Ward added.

“Any opportunity to move your body more throughout your work day is beneficial to your health, which is why so many innovative new cycling desks are hitting the market. The Sylex Spin desk is well designed and includes wheels so it can be moved around when not in use.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/bnenin

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