Many sofas and chairs can be surprisingly bad for your musculoskeletal health.
But if you follow a few simple guidelines, you can find furniture that gives you the right amount of support and cushioning, just like a good pair of running shoes.
- Choose firm. Look for sofas and chairs with a foam-density rating of at least 2.4, or those with hand-tied coil springs. If you sink into a pillowy abyss when you sit down, keep shopping.
- Make sure your seating holds you in an upright position, vertically aligning your ears over your shoulders over your hips.
- When you rest against the back support, your feet should be flat on the floor, with your knees at a 90- to 110-degree angle to your hips.
- There should be some space between the edge of the seat and the backs of your bent knees when you’re sitting, so there’s no pressure on the veins and arteries there.
- Try before you buy. Sit in a chair or sofa for at least 20 minutes, so you can see how it feels.
- Be sure to take into account what you’ll be using the seating for most often. Activities like reading, watching television, knitting, playing video games and talking have different ergonomic requirements.
- Watch your posture. The right piece of furniture can do only so much; you still need to avoid slouching and craning your neck while using mobile devices.
- Don’t overuse your seating. Get up every once in a while.