Sugar and Spice Advice on Ergonomics

Most of the time when ergonomics is discussed it is related to the work setting. With all the home electronic devices, computers, and video games, ergonomics is not just for the office. Good body mechanics can prevent muscle strain, vision problems, and repetitive strain injuries. Use the checklist below to assess your work/home area, maintain good posture, and prevent strain.

  • Sit in a neutral position with your ears, shoulders, and hips all aligned.
  • Sit with your thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Have ample leg room under the desk.
  • Seat panel shouldn’t press against the back of your legs.
  • Chair backrest provides lumbar support and chair is adjustable.
  • Elbows bent at 90 degrees and are kept close to the body. Forearm should be parallel to the floor.
  • Keep fingers relaxed and wrists straight.
  • If armrests are present they should be adjusted to gently support arms, not body weight.
  • Position screen directly in front of you at approximately arm’s distance (15 to 32 inches)
  • Top of monitor is at eye level. If wearing bifocals screen should be a little lower.
  • Hourly stretch breaks. The human body wasn’t designed to sit in one position for long periods.

Tips for Using Hand-held Devices:

  • Check your posture so that your ears, shoulders, and hips are all aligned.
  • Tuck your elbows close to your sides and hold the device up closer to eye level to avoid straining your neck.
  • Prevent straining your thumbs by using one hand to hold the device and use the other hand to type.
  • Avoid cradling a phone with your shoulder.

Proper posture not only prevents injuries, but decreases fatigue. (Thank you to US Healthworks for assistance with information for this post.)

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