October 31

What Is Poor Posture Doing To You

Categories: Seating, Workstations, Tips,

Until recently, many if not most workers earned their living by doing physically demanding activities and they often walked to and from work.  Today many people work at a desk, are seated a substantial amount of the day, and only walk to and from the car.  This can lead to poor posture which can have an adverse effect on you.

Bad posture can lead to headaches, wrist, neck, and back pain, loss of concentration, fatigue, digestive issues, stress and a general loss of productivity.  Persistent back or neck pain can have a very negative effect on your mood and can therefore affect your co-workers' perception of you.  You may not be that moody, ill-tempered so-and-so that they perceive.

Besides how poor posture impacts your health, it also affects your appearance.  Poor posture can make you look older and heavier than you actually are.  If you sit or walk with good posture you will appear younger, stronger, and slimmer.  And, you will look more confident, in control, and much more graceful.

Posture is the alignment of your joints, whether good or bad.  With good posture your joints are aligned in a way that they are not exposed to additional wear and tear; your center of gravity is over your base of support and you expend very little effort or energy to hold yourself in the right position.  For example, with good posture your head is up and your neck is straight, which places very little stress on your neck muscles.

By contrast, bad posture places stress on your joints, uses excess energy, and can also cause discomfort or even pain.  For example, craning your neck to look at a computer screen stresses your neck muscles and the cervical joints in your spine.

If you are concerned about your health and appearance, and why wouldn't you bee, you need to care about your posture.

Good posture at work can be very challenging if your workstation is not set up properly.  Take a look at the picture below and compare it to your workstation.

Your chair should be height adjustable.  You want your feet flat on the floor, your thighs parallel to the floor, your shins vertical, and your lower back supported.  If your feet do not reach the floor, use a footrest, this relieves pressure on the back of your legs and improves circulation.  Your seat and desk height should allow for a 90 degree bend at the elbows when keyboarding.  Your chair seat should be adequately padded and made with a breathable fabric, not plastic.  Armrests should be adjustable to provide support as you keyboard, yet not impede your movement; this will relieve your neck and shoulder muscles from supporting your arms in this awkward position.

As previously mentioned, your desk should be the right height so that your arms are bent to 90 degrees when keyboarding and large enough that you can easily reach all the things you need to use without any awkward twisting.  Knee space should allow for easy movement with contorting your legs.  For some workers, a height adjustable workstation may be a good idea.  These allow the user to sit part of the time, and stand part of the time.  This sort of position variation can be very helpful.  

Your computer monitor should be in front of you, not to one side, and the top edge should be level or just below eye level.  For this reason, laptop computers do not work well for extended desk use because the screen is too low.  If you must use a laptop, consider some sort of laptop stand and an external keyboard.  Keep your monitor 18-24" away and position it to be free from glare or shadow.  As you keyboard or mouse, keep your wrists in a neutral (mostly straight) position, this may require a wrist rest.  If you use the phone a lot, consider a headset.  Never spend extended periods with the phone cradled between your ear and shoulder.

Once your workstation is properly set up, it is up to you to consciously work toward good posture.  Good posture starts with the position of your head.  A good rule of thumb is to keep your ears over your shoulders.  Avoid craning or leaning your head forward in order to see your monitor.  If you find yourself repeatedly craning, consider repositioning your monitor or changing the font size.  If the problem persists, you may need to visit with your eye doctor.

Make an effort to keep your shoulders back and down.  Proper positioning will ease the muscle tension in your neck and shoulders.  Keep your lower back just slightly arched, according to the natural curve of your spine.  If this seems awkward or difficult make sure your chair has adequate lumbar support.  Keep your feet flat on the floor and your shins vertical.

Maintaining proper posture can be difficult, it is very easy to slip back into old habits, especially if your are tired.  It may help you to periodically stand and take a short break by walking around the office.  You may be able to manage your duties in a way that allows for these kinds of break every hour or so.

Now that you are informed, are you ready to take an active approach to good posture?  

As you examine your workspace, keep in mind that we can help you bring it up to the standards you need for good posture.  Give us a call today for a no obligation consultation.

 

316 942-4100

 

If you prefer, click here to start the process.  Do it today and you'll be on the road to good posture.

 

 

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