Back to Work Ergonomics! New Year New Habits
What better time to start new habits than the first month of 2019! We all know the importance of a ''good working posture'' and long hours of sitting is unhealthy, but trying to maintain yourself in a certain position you are not used to is actually not as easy as you think.
Have you ever tried sitting up as tall and straight as you can but end up feeling more sore and tired on your back? If your answer is YES, then you should definitely read this article.
Let's start off with posture. Speaking to most of my patients, I realise a lot of people try to sit up straight by pulling their shoulders back as much as possible and overarch their lower back. You are actually using the wrong muscles if you do that and that is why it feels uncomfortable overtime. Sitting up properly is all about feeling comfortable and natural when done correctly.
Instead of overcorrecting your posture, try imagining a balloon tied to the top of your head and it is slowly pulling you up towards the ceiling while sitting/standing. That is the amount required to maintain a good posture. If you start slouching again overtime, it's okay! It's all about practice.
A good tip to remind yourself to not slouch is to buy coloured round stickers (your favourite colour) and stick it around your workstation and home as a reminder.
Double Screen Monitors
This is probably what most workstations have these days rather than the old school single screen. Subconsciously you may not realise it but, you are probably only turning your neck and not your body when switching between monitors. Over time the neck gets tired and unhappy with you.
Assuming most people have rotating work chairs, try rotating your body towards the screens and your neck will follow along with it. Initially you may need to do this consciously but it will pay off overtime.
And last but not least..
The Work Chair
The thing I always say to my patients is “Hips HIGHER than knees”. When sitting on any type, brand and colour of chair, always make sure your hips are sitting higher than your knees! Most high tech ergonomic work chair these days allow you to tilt the seat forward or backwards. Play around with some of the handles at the side and it should let you tilt the back seat of your chair higher. Never let the front part of your chair seat sit higher than the back part.
If say you do not own a fantastic ergonomic work chair, simply fold up a towel or a small cushion and sit your buttocks right on top of it. That should give your hips a bit more height or at least at an equal height to your knees.
My point is, the right work habits and a good workstation set up should not be difficult and should not bring pain to your body when done correctly.
Remember! It is not a NO PAIN NO GAIN FORMULA!
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY WORKING! =)
Written By Iris Tan
B.App Sc (Chiropractic)