A lot of us sit at our workdesks for greater than 6 hours a day – so much sitting that we end up molding our bodies into our chairs. Here are some helpful dos and dont’s of ergonomics that I compiled to help our patients sit healthier to help minimize back injuries.
DO: Sit up straight! The top of your monitor should be at eye level and your gaze should drop down about 15 degrees comfortably.
TIP: To make sure you stay in good posture, try sticking a small mirror at the corner of your monitor. Make a mental note of the object being reflected when you’re sitting with good posture, and recheck every half hour. If that image changes, you know you’re deviating from your ideal posture. (Also acts as a good boss-detector!)
DON’T: Start to hunch toward the monitor. A lot of us do this when intensely working. Resist being sucked in to your monitor – literally! Your mouse position can also cause you to hunch – don’t keep it too far from your reach.
DO: Make sure your armrest is at elbow height or slightly below and keep keyboard and mouse also level with this height. Keyboard drawers are great for this. Make sure you keep your wrists neutral while typing and mouse-clicking.
DON’T: Shrug your shoulders while typing or elevate the armrests too high. Take breaks often and recheck posture to make sure you’re not shrugging from stress.
DO: Adjust and use the chair-back for low back support. Make sure the angle and height of your chair is such that the end of the seat is not cutting into the back of your knees and that your feet can rest squarely on the ground.
DON’T: Twist your back and sit on one cheek more than the other. Take this as a sign of “sitting fatigue” – DO: get up and move around. Allow your body and mind to reset.
By Alice Holland, DPT.
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Alice earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from USC in 2007, and have practiced Physical Therapy for 12+ years in the Outpatient Orthopedic Setting. Certified in ASTYM, she also has been a featured expert on Physical Therapy on numerous publications including health.com, healthline.com and yahoo.com.
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