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Can Ergonomic Chairs Correct Bad Habits?

20 November 2023

Many people habitually sit in ways that can damage their back in the longer term, through lack of support for the lumbar area. It is easy to get into bad habits like slouching when sitting in a chair that isn’t very well-optimised for sitting in one place for an extended time period. This is something that often happens when people are seated at their work desk, as they tend to sit in the same range of positions throughout the day.

How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit?

There have been many studies on this subject and the consensus seems to be that it will take around 21 days of undertaking an activity before it becomes a habit. It can then take longer for this to become a permanent lifestyle change, and this is thought to take anywhere from around 90 days until 254 days to embed a habit as a permanent change to your lifestyle. This is an inexact science as it depends on the particular circumstances of the people involved, the habit they are trying to embed and other circumstances that affect their lives.

These circumstances can be things like a genetic predisposition toward habit forming behaviours, or outside factors such as working from home surrounded by constant distractions that can cause it to take longer for a habit to embed. Everyone's own circumstances are different but most people will initially be able to form a habit in around 21 days.

Can Ergonomic Chairs Help to Correct Posture?

A high-quality ergonomic office chair can help to change the way that we sit. If we previously sat in a way that was bad for our backs, it is a lot more difficult to do in this kind of chair. This is because this type of chair is specifically designed to offer the maximum comfort and support to the vast majority of users. When you sit in an ergonomic chair for the first time, you should adjust it so that the support that it provides is doing the maximum amount of good for your sitting position.

If you normally use an ergonomic chair and then try a different chair for a while, you may find that you automatically hold yourself in a better posture that is more like how you would sit in an ergonomic chair. Equally, you may find that you go into a slouching position. Without the gentle support of an ergonomic chair to keep you right, it can be easy to let good habits slip and begin to let bad habits encroach on your life once again.

Many people who have never had an ergonomic chair don't understand what they have been missing out on. These chairs are shaped to mirror the natural curvature of the spine and are cushioned and padded at strategic points so that they provide support to the back, neck and head where it is most needed. They are also designed to tilt at various points and in some cases to have arms that raise and lower, so that you can find the optimum way to sit in comfort.

People who have experienced the benefits of this type of chair don't tend to want to go back to their old office chairs and most decide very quickly that they like them. Many people take a look at ergonomic office chairs and are unconvinced about their comfort, assuming them to be uncomfortable at first glance. They quickly tend to change this opinion once they sit down and experience the level of comfort and support offered.

Ergonomic Chairs Can be Part of Improving Bad Posture

Although they can have a large part to play in helping to correct poor seated posture at work, improving bad posture overall requires buy-in from the person involved as well. A good ergonomic chair will help to improve seated posture during the working day but being able to consciously choose not to go back to the bad posture as soon as you get home is a wider lifestyle choice.

Many people will find that back, neck and shoulder pain will be alleviated by ergonomic chairs and this can encourage them to take more exercise to improve the core muscles. This, in turn, can help to strengthen the muscles most involved in maintaining good posture both inside and out of the workplace.  

Regular exercise and a healthy sleeping pattern can also have a profoundly positive effect on back pain and posture, and used in conjunction with a high-quality ergonomic chair, they can improve the quality of life for many people.

Many people, particularly those who use laptops regularly, find that they begin to hunch over more often and it is important for this reason to ensure that your computer screen is at the optimum height for your use. This is something that should be taken into account when setting up your office chair, so that you are able to derive the maximum benefit possible from it. The perils of a sedentary lifestyle have been concerning researchers for years now but ergonomic chairs can go some of the way to ensuring better health for the people who use them.