What are the health benefits of an ergonomic chair?

What are the health benefits of an ergonomic chair?

No, sitting isn’t the new smoking, according to a 2018 report published in the American Journal of Public Health, despite what the mainstream media hypes. What a team of international researchers did find was that excessive sitting (8 or more hours a day) increases the risk of premature death by a factor of 10-20% versus 180% due to smoking. While 10-20% isn’t as scary as 180%, frankly it’s not zero percent either. So what is the best ratio for a typical office worker between sitting and standing that would bring that number much closer to zero percent? 

Spoiler alert, according to a 2015 study conducted by Jack Callaghan from the University of Waterloo, this ideal ratio should be between 1:1 to 3:1 sitting-to-standing in terms of time. This means one should shoot for standing three hours for every one hour of sitting. Not to disrespect Dr. Callaghan, but it’s highly unlikely that the average cubicle denizen will stand for a minimum of four hours during their typical 8-hour shift. One should note that neither Rome nor a person’s improved health was built in a single day. Eight hours of immobile sitting is clearly unhealthy and six hours of standing is both unrealistic and causes a new set of issues. So where is this happy medium for those just starting out from a sedentary lifestyle? Short answer: It depends.


According to the guidelines set by ergonomics conference speaker Richard W. Bunch, a more realistic goal for those over 40 years of age is to use a 3:2 ratio instead. This means that members of this age cohort should sit for 30 minutes and stand for 20 minutes. Whereas for employees under 40, Jack Callaghan’s 1:1 ratio is sufficient. Younger staff should be able to both sit and stand for a half-hour each quite comfortably.   

Fitness level

In general, those physically fit can stand on their feet much longer without pain and discomfort than those, not as fit. However, the team at gostanding.org, recommends that those in office management look at two additional factors, namely ergonomics and movement. Maintaining good posture and lessening pressure on the spine are the key goals of ergonomics. Keeping desk supplies in close reach and keeping joints in a neutral position greatly reduces office injuries. Staying in motion while standing is crucial to getting oxygen to one’s key joints and muscles. The simple act of moving more while standing leads to better health outcomes for all fitness levels.

Transition Frequently

Another key to reducing pain and discomfort is to have office employees change positions frequently no matter what. Remember maintaining a static position for long periods defeats the original goal of eliminating that 10-20% risk of premature death.   

Sit When Needed

Just listen to the body. Over time, office staff will ideally be able to stand more, move more and sit less. However, when just starting out, break down these ratios into smaller sessions especially when there’s any discomfort. One day, these same workers may be able to stand for those three hours for every one hour. However, there’s no shame in building up to that goal a little at a time. 

Takes Time

Honesty, it takes time to adjust to a new lifestyle, especially after decades of sedentary work life. Slow and steady wins this race. An office worker can start with small milestones like standing five minutes for every one hour, increasing this by 5-minute increments each week. Over time, both minds and bodies of the former sedentary will adjust accordingly making this transition achievable.

Good Posture

In addition to standing longer and sitting less, office staff should be mindful of maintaining good posture all day. Combining the positive health effects of a standing desk with an ergonomic chair is a winning recipe for all involved. So what does the maintenance of good posture look like? Starting from the top, the neck stays in a neutral position. Next, relaxed shoulders are set back and not hunched. The trunk is stabilized. It does not lean forward. The elbows are comfortably resting at a 90-degree angle. Please don’t forget to keep one’s wrists level to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Finally, the knees, like their elbows, rest at a right angle with the feet planted firmly on the floor.


A happy medium is achievable when one is patient with themselves with respect to their age and overall fitness level. Once again, slow and steady wins this race. As the old adage goes, a person isn’t in competition with anyone else just with the old sedentary version of themselves. If you own a business, then it is important to get the right ergonomic equipment for your employees. If you need ergonomic furniture in bulk, then you can check out wholesale office chair or wholesale office desk offers.

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