How to Choose an Ergonomic Chair 4: Armrest

When it comes to choosing an ergonomic chair. Most people are shocked to learn that their arm generally makes up about 10% of their total body weight.  If this weight is hanging loosely or is supported incorrectly it can lead to an extreme amount of stress and pressures on most of the upper body and neck.  When the arms are held in the same position for an extended period of time it can lead to muscle fatigue.  This is often the first step towards a repetitive stress injury.

An armrest with the right amount of padding can not only comfortably support the arm and reduce stress on the spine, but it of course in turn reduces the chance of serious injury.  Armrests that are adjustable allow the armrest to be moved out of the way in order to prevent contact stress or discomfort from constant contact.

Now, every person working in the average office is going to be slightly different.  In a perfect world, each employee would be allowed to pick their own chair.  However, that’s just not possible.  To combat this, the best chairs offer an extremely wide range of movement.  At the least, the armrest should move between 3-5 inches vertically.

Front to Back

When it comes to front-to-back movement, range of motion is just as important.  This is the type of movement that accounts for individual size and workspace requirements.  It also allows the chair to be customized for a variety of tasks.  If an armrest is static, it may force the user to sit uncomfortable in the seat of the chair in order to reach their work space.

Width and Pivot

Finally, nothing is more frustrating then armrests that are either to close or to far apart.  Width movement and pivot is the technical term to describe armrests that move in and out.  This allows wider users to spread out to their natural position without feeling cramped or scrunched into their chair.  The pivot portion allows the armrests to move on a central axis.  It may seem like something that doesn’t come up very often, but the more customizable the better.


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