While La-z-boys won’t be making appearances at computer workstations anytime soon, the latest in ergonomic computing has us reclining at our desks. Yes, reclining. Gone are the days of upright ninety-degree posture.
In a recent presentation to over 125 Vancouver health and wellness specialists, leading ergonomist Dr. Alan Hedge dismissed the typical erect sitting posture. The director of Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group, Hedge identified the roots of erect sitting as a philosophy from old British schools where “discomfort strengthen[ed] character.” Research indicates that sitting erect is simply not sustainable, nor is it healthy. A reclined position is the better way to sit. Postural muscle activity, lumbar (lower back) disc pressure, and stress on the spine and neck musculature are all lower in a reclined angle of between 100 and 110 degrees.
According to Cornell University’s Guide to Choosing an Ergonomic Chair, a suitable chair should recline easily while providing back support that tracks the natural curves of the spine during various reclining positions. So tilt back, stretch out, and keep this article handy if your boss walks in and wonders why you’re lounging.
Excerpt from: Impact Magazine, November/December 2007. By Shari Feuz & Rob Williams