Written by Cass Bennett – Exercise Therapist, Personal Trainer, Ergonomics Specialist
Stop slouching at your desk!
We have all been guilty of it and most of us just don’t know the proper way to change it. Often, we aren’t aware how we are putting stress on our bodies at work. We sit at our desks day in and day out in the wrong position, with the wrong posture and we finish our day with an aching back, stiff shoulders and neck pain.
Well, here is how the proper ergonomics can save your back (and the rest of you) at work.
1. Ensure that your computer monitor is directly in front of you and at the correct height. Having a monitor placed too low or working exclusively off a laptop will force you into static cervical flexion.
2. Your monitor should also be the right distance away from you. Working with a monitor placed too far away will cause cervical and thoracic flexion as you lean forward to read the screen.
3. Reduce your reach to the keyboard and mouse. Hands should rest on the keyboard just below the height of your elbows so that when you are typing your shoulders remain relaxed.
4. Think of a straight line from your ears, shoulders and hips to prevent slouching and use contact with the chair as a reminder to maintain a neutral spine position.
5. Always maintain the 90-90-90 Rule. 90 degrees at the elbow, 90 degrees at the hips and 90 degrees at the knees.
6. Keys to proper posture include: keeping your shoulders back and down, pulling your abs in, tucking in your chin and maintaining a neutral pelvic posture.
7. Keep frequently used items in your primary area so you limit reaching for them throughout the day.
8. Take eye breaks to prevent eye strain or “falling into the screen.”
9. Try utilizing a sit/stand desk to change the stresses on your spine.
10. Interrupt sustained positions by setting a timer to remind you to get up and stretch at intervals in your day.
We never look at our computer workstation and think “I’m going to get hurt here today”, but research has shown 65% of workplace injuries are from the sedentary workforce. To avoid injuries associated with being seated at your desk, stick to the guidelines above!