It is important to recognise that posture can have a profound impact on our health and well-being, and the benefits to correct seating are significant.
Correct seat height should assist rising. The higher the seat, the easier it is to get out of, but seat height should always be in proportion to lower leg length. Too high or too low a seat can cause the sitter to experience severe pressure problems and discomfort. If, after an appropriate seat height has been determined, the sitter still experiences difficulty rising from the chair then a manual or electric riser chair should be considered.
The correct seat depth should eliminate the need for extra pillows or cushions.
If the seat is too deep the sitter will slide forward, losing posture and increasing localised pressure; if it is not deep enough, pressure will be concentrated on a smaller area of the body and not as well distributed. On riser recliner chair, leg rest length is a very important part of seat depth measurement – heels should just roll over the edge of the leg rest pad.
The correct seat width should provide the sitter with a supported posture.
If the seat is too wide it can be dicult to maintain an optimum posture; if too narrow, the sitter may not be able to sit right back in the chair which would again limit postural support.
The correct backrest height should support the back of the head when sitting or lying in the chair. This is particularly important with riser recliner chairs when in a reclined position as the head will hang over the top of the backrest if the back is too low, causing the client to slide forward and adopt poor posture.
The correct armrest height should allow the sitter’s arms to rest gently and naturally on the armrests with the shoulder girdle in a neutral position. Chair arms that are too high will cause neck and shoulder pain; too low will cause drooping and dragging on the shoulders and make getting in and out of the chair more dicult.
Back Shape and Angle
The shape of the backrest should ideally contour the sitter’s back profile providing good lumbar and neck support. Personal preference will determine whether a very upright chair or a more reclined position is required.
The majority of the population assume incorrect sitting positions and unfortunately it’s a natural occurrence for the body to slump and change its position regularly. Poor sitting postures and unsuitable seating can develop and/or exacerbate both physical and medical conditions with far reaching consequences on the quality of life and overall well-being.
Blocking of Veins and Nerves
An excessively high sitting position with legs swinging can lead to veins and nerves becoming blocked, causing varicose veins, sleeping legs and numbness.
Diculty in Getting Up
It is often dicult to get up as a result of reduced muscular strength and impaired functioning of the joints. This may also be hindered by the chair you are sitting in having:
- A seat that is too low and/or too soft.
- An inappropriate seat depth.
- A large backrest angle.
- Armrests that are too short or absent altogether.
Irritated Tissue and Back Pain
Incorrect seat height can cause pressure on the bottom. An excessive slant on the back or too deep or too low and seat can lead to irritated tissue, back pain and cause difficulty getting up.
An excessively low seat with an acute angle between the torso and upper legs can give rise to intestinal problems.
Back Pain and Poor Posture
Inappropriate cushioning can result in sinking and slumping back into a convex shape contributing to back pain and other related joint and muscle ailments.