23 Mar Seating Ergonomics: Is It Really Necessary?
With the way students – and not even just students, but everyone – sits, there are many different positions people prefer to sit in. Sitting in a chair that supports your body’s most comfortable position is crucial to productivity. If a student that slouches is sitting in a chair that reclines much too far, the student will either be reclined way too much, or they should be sitting in something that promotes ergonomics specific to them. Rocking chairs are one of the best creations in our opinion since everyone can find the position that best suits them and they can rock and move back and forth to help all the fidgety people in the world. Leg tappers, this is one of the best solutions (but you can thank us later).
Kids are often sitting down which we all know or see on a regular basis. Children spend roughly 9 hours a day in a sitting position. In schools, it is found that kids spend approximately 80% of the school day in chairs.
Posture also plays an important role in seating ergonomics. Classroom seating was originally designed to enforce upright posture throughout most of the 20th century, which creates an excess amount of muscle exertion. However, poor posture can compress the diaphragm which affects breathing and voice quality.
Children wildly range in size, growth, strength and cognitive ability. A large majority sit at chair-desk combinations that are not suitable for their specific body height.
The consequences of using classroom furniture that doesn’t meet acceptable ergonomic standards include very real physical symptoms. Conventional chairs have had a rigid seat that inclines backwards and merged into a seating hollow. This design can cause lack of blood circulation throughout the body, rounding of the back from poor posture, tense shoulders, neck and back muscles, constricted digestive organs and spinal cord pressure. Why would anyone want any of that?
How can we implement ergonomics?
Important to remember: SIZE, FIT/ADJUSTMENTS, MOVEMENT and FUNCTION. A chair that is 18″ seat height probably won’t fit a child in grade 1. Feet must be able to touch the floor (or if it is a stool, there must be some sort of foot ring) so there isn’t so much pressure on the spine. Chairs should either fit your body naturally or have adjustments for it to be considered ergonomic. Tilting mechanisms, back adjustments, lumbar support, height adjustments all make seating options more customizable to be ergonomic to one person specifically. Classroom seating must fit functionality. So in other words, seating needs to compliment the curriculum being taught; we’re talking portability, movement, and features.