Having correct posture when sitting down for work or when behind a computer is extremely important. Good posture sets up good habits, builds confidence and helps to maintain overall levels of health and wellness.
The effects of poor office ergonomics on a person’s health can be very serious and over time contribute to lowered states of health, sickness and injury.
More on the health impacts of poor posture in a moment.
Here is a 5-point posture checklist to make sure your office set up is comfortable, safe and productive.
Step 1) Your Chair
- Adjust seat height so that your feet rest flat on the ground and your knees are level with your hips (in above image). Your legs should form a 100 degree angle. Some people prefer to use a lumbar cushion that supports the natural curve in the lower back or a small cushion to sit on. If your arm rests get in the way, remove them or choose a chair without.
- Use a footrest if your feet dangle or if you require foot support.
- Option 1: sit with your hips as far back in the chair as possible, with the backrest adjusted to vertical or slightly forward. Maintain an active core and avoid slouching.
- Option 2: sit with your hips toward the front of the chair so that you do not use the backrest. This position encourages your abdominal muscles to stay activated while sitting and your back to remain straight. Avoid leaning forward. Your legs may be positioned back under your hips.
- Option 3: sit on a fully inflated exercise ball or backless chair where practical. The ball replaces the seat from option 1 and 2 and allows your core and back muscles to activate.
Now that we have seating organised, let’s look to optimise your keyboard.
Step 2) Your Keyboard
- A soft, gel filled mouse pad is an excellent aid to make mouse operation more comfortable. Moreover, the pad supports the wrist and can help to prevent Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
- Position your keyboard close to you and directly in front of your body.
- Your shoulders should be relaxed and rolled back, elbows slightly open and hands and arms straight.
- Maintain a straight wrist position.
Step 3) Your Screen
- Ideally, your screen should be positioned one arms length in front of you.
- The height of your screen is very important and many people use screens that are too low, resulting in forward head posture and loss of the natural backward facing neck curve.
- Screen height should be at eye level, directly in front of you.
- This is an important step to get right as it prevents forward head and neck posture.
Step 4) Desktop Items
- All your essential desktop items such as phone, pens, note pad, headsets etc must be within one arms length. Avoid reaching, leaning or twisting to reach desktop items. Imagine an arms length semi-circle drawn around your desk, place all essential items within comfortable arms reach.
- A telephone head set is a great idea as it negates the need to hold the phone handset up to your ear.
Tip: Where possible, stand up while talking on the phone to maintain posture and boost energy.
Step 5) Break Time
- It doesn’t matter how great your new office set-up is, you need to get up, stretch and move every hour. Static posture inhibits blood circulation, makes you feel lethargic and reduces productivity.
- Go for a 5 minute walk, do some stretches, get active and do push ups or star jumps to energise your system. This will boost productivity and release happy endorphins.
If you would like to improve your health, reduce pain and to enjoy a long and healthy life, we invite you to contact New World Chiro today. You can phone or email the clinic and one of our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.