Exercises You Can Perform from Your Office Chair.

Just because you’re stuck in your office chair doesn’t mean you can’t exercise there. And it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, either. As we’ve mentioned before, staying put at your office chair can be hazardous to your health. The office can do real damage to your body if you’re not careful – repetitive strain injuries, lumbar pains, muscle tension, and other very real problems can strike if you don’t do something to ward them off.

Yoga poses can be just the thing the doctor ordered. Certain yoga techniques can be performed even without getting up from your office chair; such office chair yoga techniques can relax sore muscles, release spine tension, and provide an overall restorative effect to your poor overworked body for the short term.

In the long run, your body will gain relaxed muscles, added flexibility and tone, added strength, and a greater sense of calm. All that with regular exercises done from your office chair – how cool is that? You don’t have to make time in your schedule, book a trainer, or find a secluded place in your office to do the exercises we’ve listed below. The office chair, as it turns out, makes a great gym if you know what exercises to do.

The exercises below are brought to you by video producer MAKE | MEDIA and yoga instructor Cassie Naumann, a veteran fitness instructor and an expert in the styles of Lyenger, Ashtanga, Viny, and Hatha Yoga. (read more)

Where do Office Chair Designers Get Their Inspiration?

Now THIS is an original office chair – office furniture concern Herman Miller recently unveiled their new SAYL chair. Designer Yves Behar found his inspiration from the cables and towers of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge; the office chair that resulted from Behar’s brainstorm looks original in every sense, despite being derived from an architectural icon known to millions.

The SAYL’s design is far from arbitrary – the wires and structure together comprise a revolutionary intelligent frameless back support that adapts more readily to a user’s motions and body shape, without stinting on the body support. In other words: this office chair boasts of both beauty and brains.

Finally – to soothe environmentalists – the SAYL office chair is created using 21% recycled content.

The SAYL office chair’s revolutionary design is no fluke – Herman Miller has long demonstrated how to transform the humble office chair into an outlet for design breakthroughs. In fact, where groundbreaking design is concerned, the company has long been a leader in the furniture industry.     (read more)

Selecting a Mesh Office Chair – Pros and Cons.

The mesh office chair is becoming more and more necessary in the modern breakneck-paced office. But just as even the most advanced office computer can become a liability if badly-selected, the process of choosing a mesh office chair becomes ever more important: you can’t just leap into it blind.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to help your selection process along.

DO test drive that mesh office chair. No mesh office chair is perfect; the flaws aren’t usually evident in the first ten or twenty minutes of testing, much less just looking, at the chair in question. So don’t just “eyeball” it, or rest your hindquarters and call it a day.

Put that mesh office chair through its paces: Ask yourself first how long you’ll be sitting in the chair. The length of time you’ll spend in that seat will determine whether you need additional padding. Mesh seats are cool and comfortable, but extended use can stress the tailbone, causing pain and numbness over time.

DON’T settle on the first one you like. Have several different models to choose from, when selecting a mesh office chair. You’ll get a good idea of the varying quality of mesh office chairs in the market, and in the process, you’ll also discover what qualities you prefer in a mesh office chair.

You’ll probably choose a mesh chair that provides a balance between comfort and support. Some workers will prefer mesh seats that make your hindquarters feel like they’re floating on clouds; others will prefer stiffer padded fabric or leather seats with a mesh back.

DO think long-term. Mesh chairs don’t wear as well as leather or fabric chairs; mesh chair manufacturers have to choose between soft mesh that sags quicker, or stiff mesh with lower comfort. Herman Miller has managed to hit the right balance with its Aeron chair, as it uses a Pellicle mesh that combines softness with durability. (It helped that the Aeron’s ergonomic design won it raves in the workforce.)

DON’T neglect adjustability. Any ergonomics enthusiast will tell you that mesh seating alone won’t make your chair comfortable – adjustability counts. As we’ve noted before, you’ll need to adjust different elements of the mesh office chair to ensure they fit you and you alone – armrests, seat height, seat depth, backrest, and lumbar support.

Ergonomics Pro Needed to Banish Office Pain.

Do you need to hire an ergonomics professional to reduce outbreaks of aching backs and carpal tunnel in your office? Do you need to take the ergonomic bull by the horns?

Science says yes – according to Dr. Jasminka Goldoni Laestadius from the World Bank’s Joint Bank/Fund Health Services Department,

“Just providing new office furniture and written instructions is not sufficient to achieve proper accommodation,” Laestadius’ paper reads. “Good office equipment is a poor substitute for good working positions.”

The study was conceived when the World Bank workforce moved headquarters – an excellent opportunity for Laestadius’ team to study how proactive ergonomics could improve employee health.

The employees were divided into two groups – one simply got new ergonomic office furniture, together with the manuals to set them up and no more. The other received new furniture and information, plus personalized attention from an ergonomics professional.

The second group was found to experience less musculoskeletal pain and eyestrain, with a corresponding jump in productivity. “Better postures meant less pain,” the paper concludes. “This verifies our experience that equipment such as an adjustable chair does not add value unless properly adjusted.”

The study was published in the October issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

(If your office could stand a World Bank-grade ergonomics upgrade, consider checking out Cubicles.com’s selection of ergonomic chairs. Unfortunately, professional ergonomist not included.)

New Generation Office Chair Flexes its Muscle.

Office chairs have been around for as long as there’ve been offices. Is there anything new under the green fluorescent office glow?

Knoll’s new Generation office chair could be it: the ideal synthesis of materials and design, coming together to bring near-complete freedom of movement to the worker lucky enough to rest his bottom on one.

The Generation’s top 10 inches flex with your back to a near-extreme 90-degree recline. The seat pad can slide forward to reach just the right point behind the knee.

Elastomer upholstery (an open-weave backrest made from a rubber/plastic mix) and a close application of holistic ergonomics has created a chair with enough flexibility to adapt to a wide range of seating postures.

Lean back to watch the fluorescent lights throb, and the chair will bend to your will. Sit straight up, and the chair offers ideal lumbar support.

Knoll partnered with Formway Design to produce the Generation chair. The seat retails for $995 (the armless version) to $1,860 for higher-end models in assorted finishes.

Fastcompany.com reviewed three office chairs – including the Generation chair, which more than held its own against two other office seating stalwarts. Watch the video below, and when you’re done, find out more about the Generation chair by Knoll by reading this article: Generation Chair.