Bad posture is comfortable. It’s easy. But as we all know, it’s bad for your body. It can wreak havoc on your spine, shoulders, hips and knees, cause neck and joint pain, reduce your flexibility and so much more. But all it takes is a few small changes to keep pain at bay.
If your job involves sitting at your desk most of the day, follow these guidelines for proper workplace ergonomics:
- Adjust your chair so your thighs and forearms are parallel to the ground and your feet rest comfortably on the floor. If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet, use a footrest or small stool.
- Use a cushion for lumbar support if your chair doesn’t have it built in.
- Sit up straight and centered in front of your monitor and keyboard.
- Your monitor should be about an arm’s length away from you, and the top of the screen should be slightly below eye level.
- When typing, keep your wrists straight and hovering over the keyboard. A wrist rest can help keep your wrists in the proper neutral position.
- If you spend a lot of time on the phone, use a headset.
To help counteract the negative effects of too much sitting, get up every 20 or 30 minutes throughout the day to stand and stretch your legs. Set aside time for desk exercises, which can make a big difference in how you feel both now and in the future.
If you have to stand for more than 30 minutes, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly shift your weight back and forth over each foot. If possible, rest your foot on something that’s four to six inches off the floor to help ease lower back pressure.