Workstation + Car Ergonomics
We previously discussed how poor posture, especially when sitting, can wreak havoc on our bodies. Conditions like UCS develop & we are left with aches & pains in our neck, upper back & shoulders. But the simple act of sitting likely is not the only reason why we have poor posture. The design of the environment we are sitting in plays a large role. How your workstation is set up or how you position yourself in your car can force your body into undesirable states. The good news is, we can make little tweaks to these areas to better support ourselves. Below are some simple guidelines for setting up your workstation or positioning yourself in your vehicle.
WORKSTATION → Sitting in your chair, your feet should rest on the floor & knees should be level with hips. Elbows should be bent to 90° & palms should comfortably rest on the surface of your workstation/keyboard/mouse with minimal extension at the wrist. The tops of your shoulders should be relaxed. Your arm should not have to extend out in front of you to control your mouse or use the keyboard, elbows should be close to your side. Your computer monitor should be about an arms distance away & the top of the monitor should be at eye level or just slightly below. If you have dual monitors, they should be close together to reduce the amount of head rotation. The design of these modifications is to reduce tension and keep your body in a more neutral position. You should feel more relaxed & comfortable.
Tip #1 → As you can see from the picture, you can easily raise the height of your computer monitor by placing some books underneath.
Tip #2 → If you feel tension in your lower back when your feet are flat on the ground, try placing a small footrest underneath your feet so that your knees are slightly above your hips to reduce discomfort. Just make sure you don’t round too much in the lower back.
Tip #3 → You need a “reset button” every hour of sitting. After 60 minutes, get some movement. Simple ways to do this are going to get some water or use the restroom, taking a lap around your office or simply doing a couple mobility exercises at your desk but make sure you get out of your chair.
CAR → Similar to your workstation, we want our shoulders and neck to remain relaxed. When positioning your steering wheel, elbows should be close by your side at about a 90° bend.
Tip #1 → Hands should grasp the steering wheel w/ minimal wrist extension.
Tip #2 → Your seat should be close enough to the pedals to allow you to drive w/ your ankle, not your toes. To help combat lower back and hip tension, try keeping your left foot flat on the floor & gently drive pressure through your left heel. This will help to engage your core.
Tip #3 → Your headrest should be directly behind your head. And don’t forget to wear your seat belt!
We understand it can be harder to modify certain features in your vehicle, just do the best you can!