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January 31, 2013

STAWAR: Take a seat

(Continued)

The science of ergonomics unfortunately has shown little consensus regarding the best chair design, although some progress has been made with Scandinavian innovations such as ball chairs, kneeling chairs and chairs that encourage sitting in different positions. Even most of these, however, are not compatible with current workspace designs or acceptable in business settings due to appearance. 

Some experts suggest abandoning the chair altogether. In the 1980s, Jerome Congleton, from Texas A&M, created a standing desk and among the newer products being marketed are standing work stations. 

There is a famous photograph of President John F. Kennedy looking out of the south window of the oval office. He was standing over a table reading newspapers. Due to his wartime back injury, Kennedy couldn’t sit in a chair for more than a short time without walking around. He would often work and read standing up, leaning over his desk. This may be the new work model for many people — working while standing and/or taking frequent breaks for walks. 

I’ve thought about trying one of the exercise ball chairs at work. I hear, however, that they are supposed to get sticky in warm weather. I’m also afraid of accidentally falling off and dribbling down the stairs. 

— Terry L. Stawar, Ed,D. lives in Georgetown and is the CEO of LifeSpring, the local community mental health center in Jeffersonville. He can be reached at tstawar@lifespr.com. Checkout his Welcome to Planet-Terry blog and podcast at www.planetterry.wordpress.com

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