Last week, we launched our series, “12 Days of Ergonomics” by suggesting ways to make sure your office equipment is perfectly crafted for your body and behavior. We also discussed techniques for taking breaks and resting both your eyes and your musculoskeletal system to help prevent all kinds of strain injuries. In today’s installment, we’ll get even more creative in our approaches. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at days 5 through 8 of the 12 Days of Ergonomics.
Day 5: Stand the Whole Day Long
There’s no doubt about it: sitting all day is terrible for your health. Not only does sitting wreak havoc on your musculoskeletal system, leading to serious back and neck problems, but the lack of physical activity can also increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. That’s bad for you and bad for your company.
While taking breaks is a great way to help shake up your blood flow and jump start your metabolism, you might also benefit by working at a stand-up or adjustable desk. When you stand for the majority of the day, you’ll automatically engage the muscles in your legs and core, strengthening them as you go and maintaining blood flow. What’s more, standing up naturally leads to more motion than sitting down, as you’ll find yourself subconsciously stretching and adjusting.
If buying a standing desk is too expensive, simply hack your own using inexpensive Ikea furniture. Start slow, standing up for only a half hour at a time, and work up to a full day. Believe us, your body will thank you!
Day 6: Change How You Sit
Okay, okay, maybe standing isn’t for you. In that case, it’s time to change how you sit. Lumbar support is key, so if it’s not built into your chair, simply place a small pillow at your lower back. It also can be helpful to sit directly on an angled pillow so your knees tilt downward, taking pressure off of your thighs. And of course, make sure you take full advantage of your chair’s armrests to relieve stress from your elbows and upper back.
Want to get a little more creative with your sitting? Give a medicine ball a try. Unlike an ergonomic chair, a medicine balls provides no support at all, putting the onus on you to sit up straight. If used correctly, a medicine ball can strengthen your core. However, if you find yourself slouching often, then you might as well return to your chair to correct your posture.
Day 7: Outfit Your Desk With Ergonomic Products
All of that said, even a standing desk won’t address the fact that it’s the products on the desk that often cause the greatest ergonomic problems. From laptop keyboards that force your wrists and hands into an unnatural straight position to tiny tablet screens that lead you to hunch over your desk, your devices and accessories are the root cause of many Repetitive Strain Injuries.
However, these issues are all easily addressed with just a few ergonomic products. A split keyboard, for example, will guide your hands and wrists into a much more natural position, while a laptop and tablet stand will help you move your laptop screen into an ideal position (you’ll know you’ve found it when you can view your screen straight on while keeping your neck relaxed rather than craning). Add in an ergonomic mouse, and you’ll be working productively, efficiently and comfortable for as many long hours at the office as you’re willing to pull.
Day 8: Type the Right Way
Sure, they taught you to type in school, but are you really typing the “right” way? If not, you’re at a high risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome and other Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs). To type properly, make sure to float your arms above the keyboard, typing at an angle, rather than letting the keyboard’s straight layout splay your hands. You can use a wrist support to help you achieve the ideal floating position. Hit the keys lightly (it often takes far less pressure to type than you think), and make sure to take breaks frequently to move your hands and wrists in new ways.
That said, proper ergonomic typing is a lot more easily achieved on a Goldtouch ergonomic split keyboard, which splits apart in the middle so that you can find the horizontal and vertical angles that are right for your wrists. This removes undue pressure on your hands, wrists and elbows, helping you to type in your most natural and healthy way. So, really, the best way to type ergonomically is on a great keyboard (key, we’ve got to say it!)
From standing all day to using ergonomic products, that does it for days 5 – 8. We’ll be back next week with days 9 – 12. In the meantime, start hacking that desk!