Did you know that as a nation we are spending more and more time sitting in front of our laptops and computers? It might not come as a surprise, and do you know what the real kicker is? It is no good for your back health, that is unless you are taking measures to ensure you reduce the potential for strain and improve your posture. We are all susceptible to a slouch so let’s take a look at how best to approach the daily grind.
There are many small things you can do which only cost you awareness and time, there are also some modifications to your set up which may cost you a few quid, the key thing here is that you do what works for you. You don’t need to invest to reduce back stress and feel your best (sometimes I think I could be a poet!). So let’s take a look at our top tips that you can implement straight away.
1) You are not a machine, take a break!
Don’t feel guilty about not replying to that last email immediately, surely it can wait 5 minutes for the sake of your health? We’ve all been there, saying we will take a break after the next ‘X’ and then before you know it, it is 5:30 pm and you’ve barely moved from a position of poor posture.
Make a brew, take a walk to the shops, just go and talk to a colleague rather than sending an email 50 meters, whatever you have to do, get up and do it. Movement not only gives you a moment to take the strain off but improves circulation, all incredibly vital stuff where your overall health is concerned.
2) Take it to the boss!
This may seem obvious but take a second to assess your seating situation, don’t just make do. I’ve worked in an office before where the chairs were on their last legs and sitting on them was nigh on a circus trick. They were beyond making adjustments to the height, etc. If this is you then raise the issue with your boss, they are more than likely going to take you at your word and upgrade your chair, trust me.
If you are your own boss then what are you waiting for? Go and try out some new office chairs and find one that you can see yourself sitting comfortably in for years. In many cases, though this will be the last resort, as I’ve alluded to above, get to know the levers and knobs on the underside of your chair and optimise your seating position.
2 minutes twiddling for years of comfort and reduced stress, its a small time investment with a huge pay off!
3) Are you sitting comfortably?
In many cases the talking to the boss should be a last resort, as I’ve alluded to above, get to know the levers and knobs on the underside of your chair and optimise your seating position.
Key things to remember are;
– Position your hips slightly above your knees
– Adjust your seat height so that your elbows, forearms, and wrists are level.
4)Should I be a baller?
Nope, we’re not talking about pursuing a career in the NBA (if you have the skills though, go for it!) we’re talking yoga balls. Are they the seat for you? You will see and hear a lot about using a yoga ball to sit on, in fact, to be honest, I’m sitting on one right now. The caveat here though is that I have an adjustable height desk.
Standard yoga balls, in my experience, are simply too low for your standard desk height, this comes with its own range of issues and can do more harm than good. I think we’ll do a blog post in the future for yoga ball as an office chair best practices as you can easily cause damage to your knees, hips and back if used incorrectly.
If you have an adjustable desk though and can sit at a proper height, adhering to the key things to remember from the previous point, go for it. Just remember not to roll forward over your knees, tucking your feet back into the ball and to sit up straight or you’ll be doing yourself some damage!
5) Where’s your head at?
Well more specifically, where is your screen? Think about it, if you are towering over your screen all day you’ll be doing your neck and shoulders no favors arching over to view it. One of the quickest ways to remedy this issue is to grab a couple of thick books and stack your screen until you have an optimum viewing angle.
If you are using a laptop, this can be a little trickier as you’ll be raising your keyboard as well. In this instance, there are a wealth of great stands that give you enough height and tilt to have the best of both worlds, a great viewing angle and great support for your wrists and arms.
If you follow the above you won’t go far wrong when working at your desk. Don’t set and forget though, always reevaluate and listen to your body. It is too easy to slip back into old habits!
I hope this helps, but if not, you know where we are. You can book online at www.osteopathyoxford.co.uk/prices.
All the best!