|Fit as a Fiddle: Posture Perfect|
by Jen Allen
Didn't your mom ever tell you not to slouch?
Have you ever left the office feeling tired, stiff and stressed? In today's automated world, it has become unnecessary to periodically get up and move in most office jobs. Furthermore, without the essential workstation adaptations, serious chronic injuries can result from sit- ting at a computer for 40 hours every week.
On the up side, if one takes pre- ventative measures and consciously makes an effort to stay in motion at the workplace, he or she will end up leaving the office less stiff and stressed, and instead more energized on most days. Here are three keys to healthy workplace ergonomics:
1) Set up your space. When adjusting your computer, desk and chair, it is crucial to remain in a neu- tral body position. Injuries occur when the body is in an awkward position or under excessive stress for a prolonged period of time. To avoid these circumstances, one should adjust his or her monitor so that the top of the screen is slightly below eye level. With an outstretched arm, one's fingers should barely touch the computer monitor. While maintain- ing 90-degree hip, elbow and knee angles, one's feet should remain flat on the floor (or on a foot rest). The lower back should be supported by the curve of the chair, while the fore- arms remain supported by the arm rests. One's wrists should be at the same level or slightly below the level of the arm rests and should only rely on the wrist rest for support while taking a break from typing.
2) Be dynamic. Sitting statically for extended periods poses a risk for developing back and neck pain. Hence, it is advisable to get up at least once every half hour to take a stroll to the water cooler, walk up and down a flight of stairs or stretch out one's muscles. Taking a 20 or 30 minute walk at lunch can be highly beneficially as it gets blood (and thus, nutrients) flowing to all regions of the body. Moreover, taking fre- quent 10 to 30 second breaks during work has been known to increase productivity and alertness, which no boss can object to.
3) Swap your office chair for a Swiss exercise ball. Essentially, sit- ting on a stability ball for 40 hours every week equates to a 40 hour core workout every week. Swiss balls force the shoulders to stay back, the chest to remain open and the core muscles to be constantly engaged. What's more, sitting erect on a sta- bility ball leaves some people feel- ing energized at the end of the day. With the addition of Swiss balls in the office, the possibilities for stretching breaks and lunchtime workouts are endless, since there is a vast array of resources available for stability ball exercises on the Internet!
With these three tips in mind, it is possible to transform a stressed out, tired office staff into an industri- ous and alert team. Go for it - improve productivity today!