I spend a lot of time sitting down. Up until a few months ago I didn’t give much thought to what I actually parked my rear on. Then I got a cricked neck, and started taking this ergonomic thing more seriously. After a couple of trips to an osteopath, I decided that in the long run, a good, ergonomic office chair was what I needed. My home office and back deserved nothing less.
So, I started doing some research. Visited a few specialist shops, and was taken back (sic) with the high cost of these things. An ergonomic chair is not cheap. But how do you find one that works for you?
I kept looking, reading reviews and then stumbled across the Humanscale Freedom range. The Humanscale Freedom chair was designed by Niels Diffrient and built specifically to encourage frequent, spontaneous changes of posture.
Another thing I have learnt is that one of the most important things is to have good arm rests. I was considering getting a chair without them, which is a good thing if you play the guitar. But I spend most of my time, typing at my computer, arm rests are essential then. What is so cool about the Freedom chair, is that the arm rests are linked together in a deceptively simple, but effective manner. With a little twist the arm rests can be moved up, down or almost completely out of the way when you want to play some heavy riffs on your six string. Brilliant.
Another priority in my hunt for the perfect office chair, was that it should be easy to use. I didn’t want to have to take a training course just to learn how to set it up. Again, this is where the Freedom chair excels. There are only a few simple adjustments to be made. The height, depth of seat, and back position. No thumb screws or allen keys needed, just a couple of simple levers.
Sitting in the chair, at first is a little alien. Used to fixed back recliners, it seems your back is not supported. But this is the beauty of the chair. Just lean back to recline! Niels has put some heavy thought into this chair. It is a wonderful example of great design.
I was sold on the Humanscale Freedom chair. I bought one without the cool looking headrest, which makes it a little more affordable. After six months of use, I am a very happy customer. My neck seems to be getting better too now, which is great. Freedom!
Other chairs to consider
One chair which I love the look of is the Aeron chair from Herman Miller. As used by the Happy Cog team, no less. Although a replacement wheel is not cheap, but then neither is the chair. I love the industrial looking design of the Aeron, and the mesh back is erm, cool.
What I have learnt is that it is not wise to sit still in the same position for long periods while sitting at a desk, and in particular while on the computer. Whatever chair you choose, keep active. Have regular breaks, Tai Chi is once again a good remedy. My Tai Chi Teacher used to say, that Tai Chi was "her pension" No curved or stooped back for her thank you very much.