In our connected world, many people now work remotely from home, spending hours at a time parked in front of the computer. In fact, even if you commute to work—or even if you're retired—chances are that you spend a sizable portion of each day in your office area, sitting on a desk chair. If long stretches of time on that chair leave you with nagging aches and pains, it may be time to replace it with something more ergonomic. At the high end, options abound, but relatively offer enhanced comfort at a low price. With its adjustable seat, mesh back, lumbar support and lockable tilt function, the MARKUS swivel chair may be the best of the budget bunch. Available at IKEA; $199.
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- 10 Ways Your Furniture Can Make You Healthier
10 Ways Your Furniture Can Make You Healthier
Make Your Job Easier
A Bright Spot
A lamp equipped with a full-spectrum bulb provides naturally balanced, glare-free light that reduces eye strain while increasing contrast. The latter not only makes it easier to read, but also renders colors with greater brightness and clarity. To be sure, full-spectrum lighting isn't going to alleviate your allergies or cure your cough, but many attest that there's a psychological uplift—be it a boost in mood or motivation—to be gained from a type of light that so closely mimics natural daylight. True, you can place a full-spectrum bulb in a lamp that you already own, but it's well worth considering a specially designed fixture like the Full Spectrum Desk Lamp. Available at Amazon; $41.25.
Taking a Stand
In recent years, the catch phrase “sitting is the new smoking” has been circling the Internet, courtesy of Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The phrase may be sensational, but it also rings true: sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of health concerns like obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. The Ergoneer Sit-Stand Desktop Converter for laptop and desktop computers addresses these concerns. The lightweight converter easily slides up and down to adjust from a seated height to a standing height. Its narrow design requires minimal desk space, and a pull-out keyboard improves functionality. Now you can stretch your legs and improve your health while working at home or in the office. Available on Amazon; $143.98.
For a standing desk that offers you mobility, consider a rolling laptop cart. Though small, this piece boasts an impressive amount of storage space. Storage is no problem with this slim-line unit. Simply roll it into your workspace when you need it, then roll it out of sight when you don't. Available on hayneedle.com; from $50.50
Most people don’t consider the impact of their couches, chairs, and tables on the environment. However, the furniture industry contributes to deforestation, air pollution, and other environmental harms. The PB Comfort Eco Square Upholstered Armchair from Pottery Barn, made with organic cotton and FSC-certified wood, is an eco-friendly furniture option. Not only is this chair good for the environment, but its natural materials may actually be good for your health. Synthetic fabrics used in upholstery contain chemicals like formaldehyde, which pollute indoor air and cause dizziness and other health problems. Breathe easier when you choose a chair made with natural fibers, like this one. Available at Pottery Barn; $1,499 - $1,799.
Related: Editors' Picks: 10 Sofas Under $1000
The idea of a kneeling chair may sound a little strange, but look at it this way: When sitting in a conventional chair, all of the body's weight is put on the lower back and tailbone, which aggravates the symptoms of those with lower back pain. A kneeling chair moves some of the sitter's weight from the tailbone to the knees, reducing stress to a vulnerable part of the body. Flash Furniture's Gray Ergonomic Kneeling Chair is designed for those with back pain or respiratory issues, and promises to reduces muscle strain and promote better circulation. Available on Amazon; $73.83.
Save Your Soles
At the end of a long day at work, it's easier to pop an aspirin or throw on a heating pad than to figure out why you're dealing with muscle aches and pain in the first place. A bad desk chair could be to blame; they're notorious for encouraging poor posture and lower back pain. If you can't chuck the chair, slip the Kensington's SoleSaver Adjustable Footrest under your desk instead. This little add-on could do wonders to improve your circulation and reduce pressure on your spine. You can adjust the height and angle of the footrest for optimum comfort, while the non-slip design keeps your feet comfortably stable throughout the day. Available at Amazon; $14.99.
Minimize Noise for a Sound Sleep
Since a "do not disturb" sign really doesn't cut it when it comes to cutting down the noise in the evening, surround yourselves with extra textiles to soften the sounds—we're talking more than the blankets on your bed. Choosing a tufted headboard or upholstered headboard tiles like these help absorbs noise that comes through from the other side of the wall without the heavy-duty installation. You'll be counting fewer sheep the following nights. Available at Target.com; starting at $66 for a twin-size.
Save No Spots for Serving Platters
If your kitchen table doesn't offer enough room to fit two plates and the platter or pan for each dish in your multi-course dinner, you're likely to be less tempted for a second serving. In fact, men and women consume approximately 20 percent fewer calories when food was served from the stove or countertop, according to a "Serve Here; Eat There" study conducted by Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab. Not only does this trendy pub set limit your dining to what fits on its espresso-finish round top, but its adjustable height allows you to eat while either perched on a stool or standing. Available at Wayfair; $259.
Strike a Balance
If you use an exercise ball at the gym, then you'll love having a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair at home. Designed in collaboration with chiropractor, Randy Weinzoff, this unique chair helps alleviate back pain, while improving posture and circulation. This chair may look funny, but the potential health benefits it offers are no laughing matter. Available on Amazon; $79.98.