Chairs, ergonomics

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Post: #1
The excruciating lower back pain ( Sad ) I'm feeling at the moment has brought to my attention the fact that my current chair may not be the best for spending long hours programming:

[Image: chairk.th.jpg]
(that's not my actual chair, but it's very similar to that)

I use a regular office chair at work with adjustable height and I guess "OK" back support, never had any problems. But recently, since I started tinkering with iOS programming at home, particularly on weekends when I can spend several hours in front of Xcode, it's become very apparent that I need to work a bit on ergonomics.

Of course, the problem isn't probably limited to a bad chair: a 13" MacBook isn't exactly great for long coding sessions, and I do plan on getting an iMac soon-ish.

Anyway, I'd like to know what you guys think are the right features for a "coding" chair, which ones are must have/nice to have/irrelevant in your experience. Any favorite models?

Thanks!
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Post: #2
big, black, real or faux leather, and very comfortable
something like [Image: img2.php?did=30118] and the ability to prop your feet up (like on an ottoman).

Let it be known though that while I have no back pain, my wrists are weak as sin =)
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Post: #3
I need armrests for sure. The chair I'm using now has a mesh back, which I really like. It's just an el cheapo Chinese made chair, but it works pretty well. My last one was a few hundred dollars and was pretty big and comfy but eventually wore out (similar to the one Skyhawk shows). I like faux leather but it doesn't allow air circulation like mesh does. I've been thinking about buying an aeron, but I haven't yet been able to convince myself that it's worth the ransom they're charging for it -- something like this.

[adding] Actually, I've been thinking lately about getting a stand-up desk and a chair for that height so I can spend some more time standing, which I've heard is much better for health. I've tried the stand-up thing before and really liked it a lot for development.
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The aeron chairs are very nice, but there are thousands of other things I'd rather spend my money on, than an extra $700 (over a nice once like I've shown) for a marginal increase in comfort. Basically, I think it's too little gain for the price increase.
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Yeah, chairs are hard to justify extravagant expenditures on, no doubt. I could buy four nice el cheapo China chairs in the time-span of owning one aeron.
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Post: #6
The Herman Miller chairs are well worth the investment. I got a Mirra (the mid range one just below the Aeron) 5 years ago and it's done wonders for my back and productivity as the mesh seat makes it a lot more comfortable in hot weather. Plus they have stupidly long guarantees. I'm going to upgrade to an Aeron at some point soon too.

As a coder you're going to be sitting down for a very large proportion of your working life, so it's worth investing in a good chair.
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Post: #7
As I kid, I spent many long hours gaming in a Seatflex chair that my family had. (It looked kind of this one)

The chair was surprisingly comfortable, although I seem to remember that if you sat in the wrong position for too long, you'd go numb in certain places down under. That could have just been because of my size at the time, though.

Worlds at War (Current Project) - http://www.awkward-games.com/forum/
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(Sep 5, 2010 05:14 PM)PowerMacX Wrote:  (that's not my actual chair, but it's very similar to that)

How funny. Mine is very similar, and I have a similar excruciating lower back pain. Ponder


Every "office" or "executive" chair I've ever tried, sucked Annoyed

I would like to get an Aeron, but since I bought a new mattress a few months ago, my back has actually been doing better, but lately it's sucking again...
(Sep 5, 2010 05:47 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  Actually, I've been thinking lately about getting a stand-up desk and a chair for that height so I can spend some more time standing, which I've heard is much better for health. I've tried the stand-up thing before and really liked it a lot for development.


Eh? Like, *standing* standing? I'd be dead in 10 minutes. I hate standing.

Found some silly contraption: [Image: standingchair.jpg]
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(Sep 6, 2010 02:03 AM)Zwilnik Wrote:  The Herman Miller chairs are well worth the investment. I got a Mirra (the mid range one just below the Aeron) 5 years ago and it's done wonders for my back and productivity as the mesh seat makes it a lot more comfortable in hot weather. Plus they have stupidly long guarantees. I'm going to upgrade to an Aeron at some point soon too.

As a coder you're going to be sitting down for a very large proportion of your working life, so it's worth investing in a good chair.

Yes, those are the two chairs I saw recommended on several sites, and if I ever publish anything on the App Store that's mildly successful I may consider them. Right now, though, I just want to *have* a back by the time I submit such app Rasp so I'm looking for something cheaper (the Aeron is almost $1500 here Blink).
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(Sep 6, 2010 01:55 PM)FreakSoftware Wrote:  Eh? Like, *standing* standing? I'd be dead in 10 minutes. I hate standing.

LOL, yes, like standing standing. Can't stand all day though, which is why I'd need a higher chair than a task chair.
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(Sep 6, 2010 01:55 PM)FreakSoftware Wrote:  
(Sep 5, 2010 05:47 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  Actually, I've been thinking lately about getting a stand-up desk and a chair for that height so I can spend some more time standing, which I've heard is much better for health. I've tried the stand-up thing before and really liked it a lot for development.


Eh? Like, *standing* standing? I'd be dead in 10 minutes. I hate standing.

Found some silly contraption: [Image: standingchair.jpg]

That seems to be some sort of weird hybrid spawn of a regular chair and a kneeling chair. Although those are actually not that expensive, I haven't been able to try them out since only online stores seem to carry them. Also, I imagine it would be hard to "slide" from one desk to another in one or even just rotate in place.
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(Sep 6, 2010 06:36 PM)PowerMacX Wrote:  Also, I imagine it would be hard to "slide" from one desk to another in one or even just rotate in place.

Or keep a straight face...
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Post: #13
Kneeling chairs are the spawn of the devil Wink
I got one a few years ago when they were still popular and while they do help your back by improving your posture, you end up with sore knees and usually broken bones when you forget your legs are wrapped under it and try and get up too quickly.
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Post: #14
I too gave up on a kneeling chair due to the sore knees.

I've just recently restored my home office and have gone through several chairs before finding one that is comfortable.

In order to counter the back pain issues from long periods at the keyboard I now use an inversion table for 5 minutes a day. Not only does it help my back but it also allows me to test iPad apps in the one orientation that the simulator does not allow.

This video shows the table and my extreme testing in action: Extreme iPad Testing

I would add the phrase "Don't try this at home" but what is the point seeing as that is where I did try it Rasp
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Post: #15
Haha, that's pretty awesome, BeyondCloister.

AnotherJake, if you end up standing much, I definitely recommend getting some padded (I think they're called "industrial") mats to stand on; they help a lot Smile

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