Ergonomics Blog, Part III

It’s always important to know the facts before trying out something new. In the workplace, the use of exercise balls as chairs and standing desks have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Here’s some information to think about before you make your next office purchase with any of these items:

Exercise Balls

There is a theory that sitting in a chair all day reduces muscle tone in your back, yet there is no research to support this concept. Many millennials have started using exercise balls as chairs under this assumption, but frequently doing so may cause disc compression in the back.

High Heels

While this may not be a new trend, it’s still considered trendy. Long-term use of high heels has been linked to foot problems. For women who often switch between high heels and flats, it’s important to adjust your work area (chair/desk height) as needed for the height of your feet and knees.

Standing Desks

Standing desks do prevent slouching over a sitting desk and don’t pose the sedentary risks of sitting all day, but only if properly positioned. The desks should be placed at a height where you don’t need to raise your elbows, slump your shoulders, lean forward, and excessively reach for something. As with prolonged sitting, prolonged standing may cause discomfort in the lower back and it may also hurt your feet. It’s important to vary your sitting/standing position throughout the day.

Office Chairs

If you’re going to choose a traditional office chair for your desk, look out for features such as pneumatic height adjustment, height-adjustable lumbar support, padded armrests, adjustable seat pans, five-caster bases, and seat backs that can either be locked upright or incline up to 110 degrees.