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The Importance of Office Ergonomics

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office-sitting I came across an alarming article recently regarding the amount the average adult sits in a day: Americans are in a sitting position for 13 hours per day!  Though many of us are sitting in an office and/or looking at computer screen simultaneously, it’s still quite amazing that our bodies adapt to such non-natural positions.

The human body was built for movement & not for sitting around for hours at a time.  If you are one the of many who is sitting most of the day, here are a few tidbits and advice to know:

Sitting = Health Hazard
Being seated for long periods places a lot of strain on the body. These are a few of the issues that arise from sitting for an extended time –

Strained neck (looking at a computer): Looking forward at a screen, this puts your neck in a position to slouch, placing strain on the vertebrae. Over time, the neck may conform to the non-natural position and cause permanent neck & spine issues.
Lazy Legs: While sitting, much of the weight is placed on the gluteus (aka butt). By sitting for long periods, blood flow slows down in the legs since there is less weight that is beared in the legs. Less blow flow leads to poor circulation & weaker bones…normal blood flow is needed to have the legs move and operate properly
Increased likelihood of Cardiovascular disease: A sedentary lifestyle does not allow for muscles to do its job…while sitting, muscles burns fat at a lower rate allowing for more fat to build up. This all leads up to increased fat which increases chances for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Tips for reducing sitting

Luckily, there are simple routine changes that can be made to reduce sitting time, along with options that require an investment.  When I first made changes in my office routine, it did not require any additional funds.

No-money needed options
-Get moving more frequently: For each hour of sitting, invest 5-10 to stand up and move around. Whether that means walking the office or outside, or going to take a coffee/tea break, that 5-10 minutes allows the body to “reset” to the normal mode.
Proper sitting position: Ensure the whole body is aligned correctly,
1) Top of computer monitor is at or just below eye-level, and monitor is arm-length distance
2) Knees are positioned at 90-degree angle (adjust seat height)
3) Wrists are straight, while arms are at/or just below elbows

The above tips might need a couple books and seat pads to get correct position, but will be much comfortable in the long run.

Money-required Options
standing-deskA recent trend for many offices, start-ups, & remote workers are the standing-desks.  These types of desks allows you to stand while working at the desk.  There are several varieties available in the market (just search Google: standing desk) and literally hundreds of options are available.

Many of the desks are where the desk legs adjust height with a remote or crank, while others are a unit that is placed on a traditional desk or table and the unit is adjustable.

Most people I know that have a standing desk will use the “standing” position for about 30 minutes-1 hour at a time before moving back to sitting (repeat frequently throughout the day).

If you are serious about purchasing, I suggest going to a store that has standing desks available and getting a good test drive. It may feel good for a minute, but try using the desk for a good 10+ minutes to get a proper feel.  Personally, I have an IKEA Skarsta desk for my office setup and it works perfectly for me!

Whether you make an investment or not, the important thing is reducing the sitting time to keep the body from getting unwanted physical issues. Hopefully, the tips provided above helps with the journey. Keep that body moving!

Make Today > Yesterday

Article Categories:
Sustainable Living

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