Posture and Ergonomics
Posture, or the alignment of the spine and connecting bones, muscles, and ligaments, is essential to holistic healthy living. While many of us forget that standing and sitting in certain positions can cause misalignment of these components, often what we think are everyday aches and pains can be alleviated through greater awareness of how we position ourselves.
What are the benefits of good posture?
Good posture is actually a contributor to a number of positive outcomes, including maximizing productivity and greater personal happiness, according to studies conducted by OSHA and Professor Eric Peper at San Francisco State University. Upright posture also increases your oxygen intake by up to 30% giving you a mental and physical energy boost to help you feel better and enjoy life more. Standing up or sitting up straight isn’t always the easy answer, however; prolonged periods of sitting or standing vertically can actually do damage, causing more pain. Instead, the American Chiropractors Association defines good posture as the point at which all the parts of your body are balanced and supported.
Tips for Maintaining Good Posture:
ERGONOMICS AT WORK
- Arranging your desk to minimize repetitive reaching: organize your documents and other work-related items in a way that makes them easily accessible. Check out this idea on how to arrange your desk.
- Creating a standing work station to use when you need a break from sitting.
- Using a hands-free device or a headset for those long conference calls to avoid holding the phone with your shoulder or letting the whole office in on your conversation.
- Using keyboard shortcuts can help you eliminate some mousing tasks and reduce strain on your wrists from repetitive motion; and
- Investing in an ergonomically sound desk chair.
- Graciela M. Perez, ScD CPE, recommends rolling a towel and placing it between your lower back and the seat for increased support.
- Adjust your seat to be as high as possible without cramping your head space
- Make sure your seat is far enough back from the steering wheel to put your arms at a comfortable resting angle when gripping the wheel and close enough to reach the pedals comfortably when you are sitting straight up.
- Don’t sit on your wallet! Sitting on a bulky object like a wallet can cause a pelvic imbalance that could cause lower back pain or other issues.
- Make sure to take breaks; try to stop every hour or hour and a half if possible, to stretch and readjust.