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Updated by Simon The Shiatsu Guy Henderson on Feb 28, 2014
Headline for What you need to know about sitting safely - Workstation Ergonomics
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What you need to know about sitting safely - Workstation Ergonomics

We all spend a great deal of our lives sitting down... and as a result we often suffer from neck, back and shoulder issues, maybe pain, maybe tight muscles, maybe trapped nerves... These are easily avoided by following the simple tips below. Read on and be ready to make some changes!

1

Make sure your screen is at eye level

Make sure your screen is at eye level

This stops the neck ache that goes from the base of the skull to between the shoulder blades. Raise your screen up so that the top of the screen is at your eye level. Have a colleague or friend check for you, as you'll usually feel that the screen is higher than it really is. You'll get used to the new height soon enough, but you won't miss the achy neck muscles

Tall people might need a Flat Screen Desk Mount

For tall people this is the easiest way to get the screen to the right height. Just bolt it to the desk and the screen, set the height and you're done!

3

Sit up and scoot back so that your back is supported by your chair

Sit up and scoot back so that your back is supported by your chair

You'll instantly grow several inches taller, your tailbone will be happier. Your brain will work better, you'll hit targets and deadlines effortlessly (well maybe not)...
But you'll be more comfortable once you get used to it!

If you're short you may need a foot stool

If you're short you're probably sitting with your feet off the ground so that you can reach the desk. What this does is pulls your lower back out of alignment, leading to lower back pain and discomfort. So simply get a foot stool, then lower your chair until your arms are resting on the desk (sit nice and close!) now adjust the foot stool so that your legs are nicely supported... There you go! Your life just got better!

5

Sit closer than you think - support your arms on the desk

Sit closer than you think - support your arms on the desk

If your arms are hanging all the weight of your arms are being taken by the muscles in your neck and shoulders. If your arms are straight and you're leaning on your wrists then the wrists are taking all that weight, so look forward to carpal tunnel syndrome and generally achy, clicky, crunchy wrists. Simple fix; sit closer, maybe lower your chair. Take the arms off your chair if they stop you sitting close enough, do whatever you have to do, but you'll thank me later!

If you use a laptop, get a laptop stand

I recommend a Griffin Curve 2 laptop stand... The same ones they use at the mac store... Nice combo of aluminium and plastic. It folds down into a very light and portable piece of kit that can be used just about anywhere... You won't miss that neck pain that's for sure

If you use a laptop, get a separate keyboard and mouse

Anything like this Bluetooth Keyboard & Mouse will do the trick

If you work from home - Get a real chair

If you're going to be sitting for 8 hours a day then you better get something that is comfortable. You'll need a height adjustable office chair, with 5 casters on the bottom, adjustable back and ideally a separate lumbar support. Head and arm rests are optional.
Adjust the chair so that your back is supported up to your shoulder blades and the lumbar support is in the curve of your back. Your feet should rest on the ground, not hang nor should your knees be up around your head. You may need a foot stool if you're short.

If you work from home - Get a real desk

If you're working from home, the worst place is the kitchen table. It's too high and you're most likely sitting on a kitchen chair (we won't even go there!)
So invest in a desk, give yourself a dedicated work station (better for productivity anyway) that is a much more appropriate height. It's an investment in your future, now.

10

Don't sit on your wallet, unless you want sciatica!

Don't sit on your wallet, unless you want sciatica!

Sciatica is not fun, don't give it to yourself... Simples!

Don't just sit there - Incorporate movement into your day

It's important to keep your body moving if you're going to be sitting down so much... There are a whole bunch of ways to exercise in London without a gym membership.

Have regular massage

If you're sitting for hours each day then your body is going to need a little maintenance sooner or later. Your body is not just transportation for the brain, it's the life support system and all of it needs to be working well for you to operate at your best... So take the time out and invest in your wellbeing with a massage now and then. If you're suffering from lots of physical issues and you've done all of the things above, then you really need to be thinking about what else you can do for your health. Massage is a great way to intervene and help the body before surgery becomes necessary... Thumbs in tight muscles are a lot better than the alternative...