Being in front of a computer and keyboard every day for hours on end can take a toll on the body. Our bodies are created for movement so staying in one position for the majority of the day can result in poor circulation and an imbalance in strength and flexibility of muscles. That is why it's important to maintain good posture while sitting and taking breaks regularly to get up and stretch.
- Use a chair that is height adjustable so it can best fit you and your workstation. If possible, your feet should be flat on the ground but if your chair needs to be higher, use a footrest or stool so that your feet can rest comfortably.
- Adjust arms rests so that your shoulders can stay relaxed and arms can rest comfortably.
- Use a seat base that adjusts to a comfortable angle and allows you to sit up straight with good lumbar support.
- Keyboard should be at a height that allows a slight bend in the forearms below horizontal (greater than a 90 degree angle)
- Your knees should be able to slide under the keyboard tray or desk.
- Avoid reaching for the keyboard having to extend your arms or raise your shoulders.
- Try to avoid having the keyboard on top of your desk – it is most likely too high unless you can raise the height of your chair.
- The monitor should be directly in front of you and about an arm’s length away.
- The top of the monitor should be at your eye level, and at a distance where you can see it clearly without squinting, leaning forward, or backward.
Even if you have the perfect ergonomic set up at your workstation you will still need to take breaks to stretch or move around. It’s a good idea to simply get out of your chair and walk around several times a day at least for 30 seconds or more. The following stretches will also be helpful to keep your muscles relaxed and ward off pain.
Begin by sitting up with good posture. Then draw your head backward slowly lengthening the back of the neck. Imagine you are pulling your head straight back until it sits between your shoulder blades. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds at a time then relax. Repeat 10 times.
Neck Side Bending
Begin in a seated position. Bend your head to the side as if you are bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed during this stretch. Hold the bent position for about 30 seconds before repeating on the other side. Stretch each side 2-3 times.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
Begin in a seated position and tuck the arm of the side of the neck that will be stretched behind your back or to your side. Rotate your head away from the side that is going to be stretched and with the other hand gently pull your head down toward your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds.
Seated Low Back Stretch
From a seated position, bend through your waist and reach down towards your feet. Only bend as far as is comfortable. Hold in the bent position for 5-10 seconds, repeating 10 times.
What to do if you experience pain?
At AOPT your wellness is our top priority. If you are experiencing pain we can help! Our physical therapists can evaluate your posture, body mechanics, strength, flexibility, and range of motion to determine how to best serve your needs. If you would like to discuss how to ergonomically improve your works situation schedule a free screen with one of our physical therapists.
Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169
Retrieved from https://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/workplace-wellness