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Keeping Ergonomics in Mind During the Big Commute
It was unseasonably cool and unreasonably grey for a May afternoon in Texas. They say, “April showers bring May flowers,” but even approaching summer, we were still stuck on that first part.
A couple of drops of rain raced down my windshield, straight down at first, but the wind blew them sideways off course before long. The pit-pat-pit-pat picked up and more racers began streaking across the glass in front of me.
I shifted from first gear into neutral, took my foot off the clutch and closed my eyes. That’s all it takes in Austin. Just a hint of rain and all hell breaks loose on the highway — like a state of emergency has been declared. Quick! Evacuate the city! There’s water falling from the skies!
Pit-pat-pit-pat-pit-pat. I opened my eyes to see the carnage of the rain in rush hour unfold, but my windshield was already a blur of colors laid out in front of me through a hundred fishbowl lenses. A squeak of the wipers cleared the scene.
“Looks like dinner is going to be cold again.”
Half an hour passed over what seemed like only half a mile down the highway. I writhed in my seat like a criminal waiting to hear the verdict, restrained by my seat belt, shackled to my stick shift. My back was killing me, my foot falling asleep on the break pad. My nerves, my patience and my back were all on the edge of my seat. I could feel my face becoming as red as the hundreds of brake lights ahead of me.
"Take a breath," I pleaded with myself. "You're better than this!"
It shouldn't be so hard to stay calm and comfortable under pressure. Then again, when a plastic bag on just a whisper of the wind was moving faster than the 500HP of American muscle and steel I had underneath my big toe, how was I supposed to keep it together?
In pain and with a familiar rage boiling, my mind kept drifting to the same thought that I can't ever seem to escape. Generally, I try to leave my work at the office, but in a situation like this it was the one thing that I found solace in: Ergonomics.
That’s right. Ergonomics. I work for an ergonomic office furniture company, and the principals of ergonomics seep into my daily life outside of work. I can’t just forget about it the moment I walk out of the door. To tell you the truth, I don’t mind.
Spending 10 hours+ in a car per week got me thinking about how ergonomic my car's seats are. Really they're very similar to a good ergonomic office chair. Both types of seating offer many of the same features:
- Adjustable seat height
- Adjustable back tilt
- Adjustable head rest
- Waterfall seat edge
- Contoured seat back
- Pronounced lumbar support
- Thickly padded seat cushion
Those are all fantastic comfort features for a car's seat, especially if you spend what totals to half a day of your week just driving to and from places. It's all important in maintaining a comfortable and natural posture over time as to minimize discomfort and health risks if you were to be involved in an accident.
An ergonomic office chair offers all of those things and much more. The only thing your office chair can't match is the seat belt, though I suppose most people wouldn't want to be strapped to their office chair.
Office ergonomics is all about fitting and customizing your workspace and environment to the way you work, while minimizing health risks associated with repetitive actions. While a seat in a typical car may fit most people, it won't fit everyone. A 5 foot person and a 7 foot person are not going to both be shopping for a Mazda Miata. So in the same way, your run of the mill office chair isn't going to be a one-size-fits-all solution.
With over 5.25 million traffic accidents occurring per year in the U.S., you can be certain that car manufacturers focus on driver safety. Why shouldn't the chair you spend the most time sitting in be just as safe? While you probably won't be involved in any inter-office chair collisions, a bad chair can lead to a number of long-term health issues.
Our ergonomic chair experts at Human Solution can help find the perfect solution for anyone. You shouldn't wait until you are experiencing pain to look into an ergonomic office chair. You can't fasten your seat belt after you get in an accident.
Don't wait for a rainy day to check us out online either. There's a chair for everyone. Give us a call or visit us at TheHumanSolution.com
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