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Healthy Living Blog

Leave Work Feeling Better with Ergonomics Best Practices


Office_Exercise_rs.jpgLet’s face it, we don’t always leave the office feeling great.

After a long day of sitting hunched over a desk, your back—or wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck—can hurt. The pain can leave you feeling lethargic and cranky. Even though you’ve been sitting all day, the last thing you feel like doing is working out or playing with the kids.

That’s no way to spend 40-plus hours a week.

Happily, with just a few simple adjustments, you can turn your workday from a draining experience into an energizing one. Here are a few ergonomics best practices to get you started.

The first step? Proper posture at your desk. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Both feet should be on the floor.
  • The front of your seat should not be pressing on the back of your knees.
  • Your backrest should support your lower back.
  • Your back should be straight.
  • As you type, your elbows should be close to your body with minimal bend in your wrists. Your elbows should be bent at an angle of 90 to 120 degrees, with forearms parallel to the floor.
  • The top of your monitor or computer screen should be at eye level. The monitor should be roughly an arm’s length away from your eyes.
  • Keep hard-copy documents at eye level by using a document holder.
  • If you use the phone a lot, use a headset to avoid cradling the phone on your shoulder and stressing your neck.

A common culprit in the quest for good posture is the laptop computer, which is not ergonomically designed for long days at the office. If you’re working on a laptop and sitting properly, the screen is not at eye-level for most people.

One solution is to place your laptop on books so that the top of the screen is at eye level and use an external keyboard.

Once you’ve got your work space set up properly, it’s time to learn some new moves. Moving around relaxes tissues, prevents stiffness, improves circulation, reduces fatigue and builds stamina. It can take as little as 30 seconds or less to reap the benefits. Here are some quick exercises to try:

  • Slowly rotate your head as far as comfortable from side to side.
  • Circle your shoulders, then reverse directions.
  • Retract your shoulder blades by pulling them down, then back.
  • Slowly raise your shoulders toward your ears, hold for a few seconds and gradually lower down.
  • Spread your fingers out as far as possible, hold, then clench fists.
  • Give your eyes a break by periodically looking away from your screen and focusing on distant objects.

Beyond these moves, you should take a 2- to 5-minute break every 30 to 60 minutes to move around or stretch. Take a trip to the water cooler. Walk to your co-worker’s office rather than sending an email. Take a quick jaunt down the hallway.

Looking for more movement? Some office workers have launched 30-day plank challenges that have them dropping to the floor for one minute every day. Others sit on a large yoga ball rather than a chair for part of the day. Standing and treadmill desks are also becoming increasingly popular. There are even mini workouts designed for the office.

These steps may be too much for everyone—especially if you don’t have your own office—but the goal is just to move so you can leave work with a spring in your step.

At the end of the day, you should feel good. It’s not normal to feel numbness or pain at work. Contact us today or call 419-660-2700. if you think you may need help in dealing with workplace strain or injury.

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