Good posture when seated behind a computer, at work or wherever you sit is important. Correct posture sets up good habits, helps keep your spine healthy and in line and boost your productivity when working.
The effects of poor office ergonomics can be detrimental to your health - in a moment we'll list some of the health impacts associated with poor posture.
5-Point Posture Checklist
In this article we discuss exactly how you should be sitting behind your computer and desk while working. We have prepared a 5-point checklist to help you get the most out of your posture.
Point 1) Your Chair
- Adjust the height of your seat height so feet rest flat on the ground. Aim for your legs to form a 100 degree angle.
- You can use a lumbar cushion that supports your lower back, or sit on a cushion for extra height/comfort.
- Armrests tend to get in the way so it is best to remove them.
- Use a footrest to support your feet if needed.
- Seating Options:
- Option 1: sit as far back into the chair as is comfortable. Adjust backrest to vertical, maintain an active core and avoid leaning or slouching forward.
- Option 2: sit toward the front of the chair, with a strong active core and straight back. You don't need the backrest in this position. You may tug your legs under the chair, similar to image 3.
- Option 3: Use a fully inflated exercise ball (where appropriate). This position helps maintain a strong, straight back, strong core and creates a sense of movement.
Point 2) Your Keyboard
- Have you tried a soft, gel filled mouse pad support? This helps keep your wrist in line and fully supported making mouse operation more comfortable. If you suffer from RSI in the wrist, this may help.
- Your keyboard should be positioned close to you and directly in front of your body.
- Roll your shoulders back and down, keep your elbows slightly open and hands and arms straight.
Step 3) Your Screen
- Your screen needs to be at eye level, directly in front of your head. Many people use computer screens or laptops with screens that are too low, resulting in forward head posture, muscle tension and headaches.
- Your screen should be positioned one arms length away from you.
- Try stacking books under your screen to raise the height, consider a standing work station or adjustable screens.
Step 4) Desktop Items
- Maintain a clean, clear workspace with only the daily essentials placed within easy reach. Frequent use items such as phone, pens, note pad, headsets etc must be placed within one arms length around you.
- Imagine an invisible semicircle drawn around your desk, place all frequent use items within this circle.
- Avoid reaching, leaning or twisting for items.
- Try a hands free phone headset. Free up your arms and you can stand while talking.
Step 5) Break Time
- Take regular breaks. Regardless of how well your work space is set up, static posture inhibits blood circulation, makes you feel lethargic and reduces productivity.
- Go for a 5 minute walk, stretch, energise yourself with star jumps or push ups.
Health Impacts Associated with Poor Posture
Good posture sets you up for success. Poor posture may impact your health. Common health impacts associated with poor posture include:
- forward head posture
- muscle tension
- poor sleeping habits
- feelings of lethargy and low energy
- back pain
- hip and leg pain
- pins and needles, tingling and numbness
A thorough chiropractic examination may determine if the conditions you, your friends, family members or co-workers are experiencing are the result of postural misalignments. The tests performed during this examination are gentle, accurate and efficient. Our highly trained and experienced team will then provide a thorough report to explain what has been found.
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About Dr Paul Calladine (Chiro) B.Sc.(Biol.), B.Sc.(Anat.), M.Chiro. (Gonstead Diplomate) and Lyons Road Family Chiropractic.
Lyons Road Family Chiro and Dr Paul (Chiro) have been serving the health care needs of Sydney's Inner West and Drummoyne communities for over 23 years. Paul is originally from Canada and has obtained high levels of tertiary qualifications from both Canada and Australia. Paul is a wealth of information on all things natural, on fitness, long term health, nutrition and of course, chiropractic.