Staying Fit While You Sit
Updated: Sep 15, 2019
Dr. Kenneth Blank, Rockland Chiropractic, P.C.
May 3, 2019
It’s amazing how much workplace dynamics has changed over the years. As technology advances, we can work faster, (hopefully) easier, and more efficiently. No longer do you have to get up and go to a meeting, deliver a memo, send a fax, etc. Now it is email, video conferencing and telecommuting (most times a home office is set up worse than your “regular” office).
Many people find themselves lost in their work and spend upwards of 6 hours/day in a sedentary position without taking a break. While this makes for increased productivity, it may lead to health and/or physical problems. Most people accept aches and pains as routine and no big deal, that is unless they can’t move and are in a physical crisis. Whenever a patient has a sedentary job, I always request to see photos of their workstation. This allows me to see what physical stressors are present throughout their day. These stressors are usually due to poor workstation ergonomics. While standing desks are increasingly popular, many people still spend their days sitting for hours on end, unaware their posture is compromised.
The good news is that a few changes to your workstation, along with reduction of repetitious movements can help. Postural stretches and strengthening exercises can be performed at your desk throughout the day. Combined, these may prevent degenerative problems that often go unnoticed until crisis hits.
While everyone’s workstation and needs are different, here are some general guidelines to follow that may help:
Your Chair – This should be comfortable and support your spinal curves. Your feet should rest flat on the floor. Use a footrest if needed to keep your thighs parallel to the floor. If your chair has armrests, you can set them to gently support your arms when your shoulders are relaxed.
Keyboard and Mouse – They should both be at a height that permits you to keep your upper arm (biceps area) close to your body, with your wrists relaxed and your hands just below the level of your elbows (slightly greater than 90 degrees)
Your Desk – Your lower body should be able to fit under your desk with plenty of room. If the desk is too high, a keyboard tray can be used to create the proper elbow angle. Otherwise, raise your chair and use a footrest to keep a 90-degree angle at the knee.
Monitor – This should be set directly in front of you, approximately 1 arm length away and in line with your keyboard. The center should line up with your nose, or set the top of your screen just below eye level (note: ifchanges are made to your chair height, you’ll need to adjust your monitor height accordingly)
Other considerations –Place frequently used objects within a comfortable reach and stand up to grab anything that you need to reach for. If you frequently use the phone, a headset is a good option. Cradling the phone between your head and neck is not advised. Ever.
OSHA suggests taking a break every 20 minutes from highly demanding computer tasks. This can be the perfect time to stretch. Maybe take a phone call standing up. You don’t need to stop working, but this can break the monotony of sitting to give your body a rest from the physical stressors that may be present whether you are aware or not.
Work hard and stay safe 😊
Yours for Better Health, Dr. Kenneth Blank, Rockland Chiropractic, P.C.
92 Orange Avenue, Suffern, NY 10901