We all know what its like to be chair-bound all day, with the only break at lunch-time when you head to the fridge to find something to satisfy your stomachs longings. As technology keeps us strapped to computers and electronic devices, more of us are finding ourselves in the same situation and are sitting for longer periods of time than ever before. Consequently, our health is suffering. Before you contemplate asking if you can swap your desk job to one that requires a bit more activity and exercise, there is one thing you can do to improve your health right now: improve your posture and sit correctly. To avoid the effects of a lifetime of sitting, read on to learn how to find and maintain good posture.
Support your back
An easy way to reduce your risk of unwanted back pain is by adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported.
A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. By getting one that is easily adjustable, you should be able to change the height, back position and tilt giving the necessary support that your back needs. Equally, your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Using a footrest may be a good idea if necessary.
However, if your office chair doesn’t have a lumbar support, grab a small towel and roll it up. A small pillow will also work. When you slide back in your chair after finding your proper posture, place the towel or pillow between the chair and your lower back. This support device should help you maintain good posture. If the towel or pillow is too large, you could be forcing your spine into an awkward position that will be painful quickly.
Adjusting your chair
Many chairs these days are adjustable, use this to your advantage and adjust your chair height so that you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. This can help prevent repetitive strain injuries - nobody wants them!
Your elbows should be by the side of your body so your arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint.
Place screen at eye level
Your screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm's length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level.
To achieve this, you may need a monitor stand. If the screen is too high or too low, you'll have to bend your neck, which can be uncomfortable and can also cause you to strain your neck. If you don't want to invest in a monitor stand however, piles of books also have the same effect and give the extra height your monitor needs to remain at eye-level.
Have the keyboard straight in front of you
Place your keyboard in front of you when typing or directly in front of your computer. Leave a gap of about 4 to 6 inches (100mm-150mm) at the front of the desk to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Keep your arms bent in an L-shape and your elbows by your sides.
Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys. If your keyboard is tall and you must tilt your wrists at an awkward angle to type, look for a padded wrist rest. Ergonomic wrist pads can help position your hands evenly with your keyboard. Straining to type can cause muscle fatigue and pain.
Keep mouse close
Position and use the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad may help keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending.
If you're not using your keyboard, push it to one side to move the mouse closer to you.
Your computer mouse should be on the same surface as your keyboard, and it should be within easy reach. Stretching to reach any item could cause muscle strain and fatigue.
While you’re using your mouse, your wrist should be straight. Your upper arm should be by your side, and your hands should be slightly below your elbows. An ergonomic computer mouse helps prevent wrist strain and fits your hand’s natural shape.
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