I also work in an office and I can really understand why and how people slouch, slump and strain while working at their desks. These unhealthy sitting positions must stop before these bad habits lead to poor health in the future.
The five recommendations below will show you what to do and how to improve your ways.
1. Make sure your monitor is correctly positioned. According to Dr. Jim Sheedy, director of the Vision Performance Institute at Pacific University, the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes. The best position is for the eyes to look down at the screen about 10 degrees.
If the computer is too high or too low, users will try to correct by moving their head or adjusting their chair: Pointing the head down will cause neck and back aches. Pointing the head up may contribute to dry eye syndrome. Adjusting the chair may be fine for the monitor, but it may give you a bad hand position to the keyboard and mouse.
This may be fine for a short time, but for long periods your neck and back will start aching and making you feel restless.
2. Avoid poor posture. Lets face it most people, including me get drawn into the monitor. This causes the neck to extend forward causing an imbalance putting strain on the neck and spine. Your head is heavier than you think and by leaning forward your muscles have to work hard to keep that extra load up. Dr. James Bowman, of Portland, Ore.-based Solutions Chiropractic recommends chin retractions. This is done by pulling the head back to keep the neck and spine in line.
3. Try standing instead of sitting. Most offices are built around the concept of sitting, but humans have been standing and walking for millions of years. Be different and try an adjustable desk that can give you a choice to stand or seat. Research out of the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, adjustable desks helped people replace 25% of their sitting time with standing time. This helped to decrease their fatigue and increase their wellbeing and appetite.
4. Move your body. Apart from sitting and standing, every so often you should take a short 5 minutes walk. If your office has a small gym room thats great, jump on the treadmill, if not walk up to the next two or three floors and down again. For those with fitness trackers stepping or walking, say 5 minutes for every 1 hour of work will help with the counting of your daily activity.
5. Learn to pace yourself. We all know that we have to give good work performance every day we work, but this doesnt mean that we have to become obsessed and eventually get sick. All work and no play will eventually catch up and make you unwell. Try to time yourself by having a timer next to you and take a break from your current task and do something different like stretching, going for a walk, exercise the eyes, move around the office or go outside for a walk.
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