If only one person is using the chair, it can be an adjustable or fixed height chair, as long as it is comfortable to sit on and has a good backrest that provides lumbar support. If more than one person will be using it, consider using an adjustable chair with several ergonomic features.
Studies show that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100-110 degrees, not the upright 90 degree posture that is often portrayed. In the recommended posture, the chair starts to work for the body and there are significant decreases in postural muscle activity and in intervertebral disc pressure in the lumbar spine. Erect sitting is not relaxed and sustainable; reclined sitting is.
Armrests can be useful for the occasional resting of the arms. However, it is not a good idea to permanently rest the forearms on armrests while working because this can compress the flexor muscles and/or the ulnar nerve at the elbow. Look for a chair that is a comfortable fit to you and that has broader, flatter, padded armrests that you can easily move out of the way if needed.
Creating a good ergonomic working arrangement is vital to protecting your health and improving your quality of life at work. To aid users in this effort, the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group has outlined the following 10 steps that you can take to improve the ergonomics of your workstation. Additional resources are also available at the CUErgo Web site.
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