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Keeping Good Posture At Your Office Desk
Keeping Good Posture at Your Office Desk
Spending 8 to 10 hours per day at a desk is not ideal for optimal physical health. In addition to the lack of exercise associated with desk work, sitting at a desk for so long can create all sorts of problems for the back, arms, shoulders, hips, knees, and legs. All such problems are traced back to posture. The good news is that solving the posture problem is not hard.
Why Posture Is Important
Good posture is important for maintaining good overall health. According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, good posture "helps keep your back, neck and other joints healthy." Poor posture at your work desk can lead to:
Underutilisation of chest and arm muscles
Weakening and shortening of the leg muscles
Pain and stiffness in the back
Increased risk of leg, knee, and lower back issues
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy recommends doing a number of daily exercises at the office to help overcome poor posture. In addition to exercise, they recommend:
Good positioning in your seat
Resting your arms on your desk
Making sure feet are flat on the floor
Getting up and walking around as often as possible.
Obviously, the best thing anyone can do is maintain good posture whenever sitting behind a desk. But to do so, you need to know what it looks like. The NHS offers some helpful information in that regard.
How to Maintain Good Posture
NHS advice for maintaining good posture at your desk starts with supporting your back. A good office chair should have a back sturdy and rigid enough to support your weight without reclining. Furthermore, you can support your back by adjusting your chair so that your knees are at a slightly lower level compared to your hips. This allows you to sit back in your chair.
The NHS also recommends:
Work Height – Your office chair should be adjusted so that you can work your computer keyboard with straight forearms that are parallel with the floor. You should be able to rest your elbows at the sides of your body with your arms resting flat on the desk.
Feet on the Floor – As previously stated, your feet should rest flat on the floor. Otherwise, you put additional pressure on the knees, hips, and back. Use a footrest if you cannot adjust your chair low enough.
Computer Peripherals – Computer peripherals are a big source of posture problems. Your monitor should be high enough so that the top of the screen is at eye level. The screen should be an arm's length away from your body. As for the keyboard, it should be directly in front of you, about 4 to 6 inches from the front edge of your desk. Your computer mouse should be in a comfortable position that doesn't require you to stretch for it.
The overall goal of good posture is to ensure your body doesn't have to move or stretch in unnatural ways. If you are having to lean in to see the computer screen, you may end up with back pain. If your chair is too low, elevated knees can cause hip pain.
Correct posture will demonstrate multiple 'L' shapes. Your torso and upper legs will form an 'L'. So will your upper and lower legs and your upper and lower arms.
Posture with sit-Stand height adjustable Desks
A sit-stand height adjustable desk can help address some posture problems by keeping you standing up for more hours during the day. However, you still have to be careful about standing posture. Remember the 'L' principle. A sit-stand height adjustable desk should be high enough so that your upper and lower arms form an 'L' shape while you work.
Your computer peripherals should follow the same rules described above. Also, it's important that you wear shoes that provide sufficient support. If you are standing on a concrete floor, having cushioned footwear will help you maintain good posture while avoiding foot and leg pain.
Lumbar Support at the Office
One final thing to think about is lumbar support. The lumbar region of the back is essentially the lower back, consisting of five vertebrae. Furniture with lumbar support built-in is designed to provide extra support to the lower back. This alleviates the extra pressure of sitting.
If you are looking for a new office chair, look for one with built-in lumbar support. Alternatively, there are specially designed cushions that can attach to your chair. Either way, the goal is to maintain the natural curvature of the lumbar spine, thereby reducing discomfort and unnecessary stress.
Sitting at your desk with proper lumbar support keeps your back perpendicular with the back of your chair and properly arched in the lumbar region. Your shoulders are straight and high, your chest is out, and you're neither slouching forward nor leaning back.
Proper posture at work will mean more comfortable days spent at your desk. It will also mean better overall health. Whether you are looking for new office furniture or you're content with what you already have, don't forget how important posture is.