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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"The simple rule is to adjust the workstation to your body."

Here are some tips for properly arranging the items in your workplace:

CHAIR Set your chair at a height that allows your feet to rest comfortably on the floor or on the footrest (unsupported or dangling feet can reduce circulation and back pain). Your knees should be slightly lower that your hips. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor or sloping down (knees toward the floor) very slightly. Always "sit tall" with chest up, chin parallel to the floor and head balanced between your shoulders.

KEYBOARD Both your keyboard and mouse should rest at a height that allows your forearms to belevel with the floor and your elbows to bend approximately 90 degrees. Adjust the height of your chair and armrests to support this position. Note that you may need to use a footrest to relive chair pressure on the backs fo the legs.

MONITOR Your screen should rest directly in front of you at, or just below, eye lever. Scott Donkin, DC, author of Sitting on the Job: A Practical Survival Guide for People Who Earn Rheir Living While Sitting, notes that the neck tends to lean forward whenever the eyes have to look more than 25 degrees below level. "That disturbs the natural S-shape of your spine". Donkin says. This can trigger a sequence of posture dysfunction, because it dimishes the spine's role as a natural shock absorber and support structure. Pressure increases on spinal discs, and over the long term, there's greater risk of degenerative changes, and chronic muscle tension throughout the back and neck.

Avoid setting your computer display to one side of your desk unless you can comfortably orient your entire chiar and body in that direction: Having yourneck always cranked, even at a slight angle, islikely to create muscle imbalances in your neck, shoulders and back.

BOOKS AND PAPERS When you're working from printed materials, prop them up at eye level next to your screen. Laying them off to the side forces you to crane your neck repeatedly while typing.

PHONE Cradling the phone between your shouldre and neck is a surefire recipe for eventual problems. "You would'nt consider walking around with your foot in a bear trap all day long", Linden says. "Why would you want to copmpress the spinal column and the cervical vertebrate for hours every day?" A headset is a worthwhile investment.

Also, many people place their phone on the same side as their dominant hand, but Donkin suggests putting it on the other side to keep the writinghand free. That also helps to avoid awkward twisting that can cause pain ove the long term and encourages you to make more use of the hand, arm and shoulder you tend to move least.

LAPTOPS They're great for portability, lousy in terms of ergonomics. "The basic problem with a laptop is you can't get the keyboard low enough and the monitor high enough," Linden says. "You're either scrunching your shoulders or scrunching you neck. If you're using a laptop for a long period of time, you're in trouble."

Linden suggests attaching an external keyboard and mouse and raising a laptop on a platform to bring the screen to eye level when you're in the office. Better yet, attach an external monitor, too. If you're traveling and a laptop is all you have, take frequent breaks to avoind neck pain.


Once your workspace is properly arranged, it's time to start paying attention to the most valuable equipment in this equation -- you! If your body isn't comfortable, or it if fatigues quickly, it's sending you a message you'd be wise to heed.

By taking just a few basic steps and precautions, you can make some important strides toward encouraging healthy body posture and alignment.

First and formost, get your body moving every now and then. Periodically rotate and stretch your neck form side to side to avoid staying too long in a fixed position.

Do shoulder rolls, stretch your arms and rotate your torso in both directions. Take a five minute break every hour to get up and move around.

Finally, remember to breathe! More specifically: Breathe deep. People who remain in fixed positions tend to become shallow breathers. Breathing is your body's most fundamental, life giving activity. Taking deep breaths reaffirms good posture, and it gives your body and brain a healthy dose of oxygen, helping you stay mentally more aware of how and what you are doing -- and when you need to take a break.

(Source: EXPERIENCELIFEMAG by: Kermit Pattison)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:29 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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