Why it’s important:
We all know that sitting at a desk all day isn’t great for your health. In fact, it’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking,” because a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to higher risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer (yikes!).
While we can’t do much about the nature of our work or the time we spend in front of a computer, we can improve the way we hold our bodies, by keeping our bodies in neutral positions, which can help mitigate the stress we put on our bodies while we’re seated at a desk:
- Straight wrists.
- Flatten your keyboard. Don’t use the little legs that tilt the keyboard up—in that position, you have to bend your wrists more to reach the keys.
- Elbows resting at your side.
- Line up your elbows, wrists, and home row of keys (the ASDF row) so that all three form a straight line.
- Shoulders relaxed.
- Set the height of your chair so that you can reach the keyboard and mouse with your shoulders relaxed, not hunched or shrugging.
No matter how good your posture is, though, you should not hold it for long periods of time. Be sure to get up, move around and stretch!
What you can expect to see:
Keeping your body in neutral positions will feel more comfortable, and may help prevent repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Stretching decreases muscle fatigue and increases circulation, too—you’ll feel more alert through the work day if you take the time to move around a bit.
About Wendy Shepherd:
Wendy has spent her career striving to secure the safety and health of workers. She was a Safety Compliance Officer, Health Compliance Officer and Health Consultant with the NC Department of Labor; a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, for which she analyzed workers compensation trends, development of programs and training, incident investigation, industrial hygiene sampling, safety and health managements systems, and OHSAS protocols; and now helps manufacturing, financial, and construction clients through IES. She is an active board member for the NC Statewide Safety Conference.