October is National Ergonomics Month!
Ergonomics involves the “process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them”.
Poor posture is caused by our everyday activities such as sitting at our desks, looking at our screens, driving, sleeping and even walking. Ergonomics is a big factor contributing poor posture and below are some tips on how to improve your workstation to improve your posture.
We spend a lot of time sitting, and thus finding the right chair is essential. Choose a chair with lumbar support so that your spine is upright and your back is comfortable. It is also important to adjust your chair to fit your height. If your chair is too high and you can’t rest your feet flat on the floor then use a footrest or a small stool or even a stack of books. Your knees should be around the same level as our hips and your wrists should be at elbow level when typing. Your keyboard should be within reach so that your arms are close to your body. When using a computer, make sure the screen is directly in front of you, so that you do not need to lean forwards or backwards or tilt your head. If you need to use the phone, try not to hold your phone between your head and neck but rather use a headset or put your phone on speaker.
Take regular breaks from sitting. Stand up and stretch or go for a walk. Moving around will keep the blood circulating and release pressure on your back and muscles.
Some signs of ergonomic injuries include: tingling or numbness in the hands, loss of coordination, discomfort or tightness in the muscles and stiffness in joints. If you are experiencing any of these then be sure to change the your workstation.
Schools and universities should adapt to the student’s needs and improve student ergonomics.