At work, school or college, at home or even while commuting, most of us spend large parts of our day sitting. Unfortunately, I have found that sitting down all day and concentrating on a screen is THE most common reason I see people every day for neck, shoulder and lower back problems.
Luckily there are a few basic things we can all do to help combat this. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Always take time to adjust your chair, particularly if you work in an office with a ‘hot desk’ policy.
- Your seat should be adjusted to allow your feet to be placed flat on the ground, with your knees bent, making sure there is a gentle slope downwards from your hips to your knees.
- Your eyes should be level with the top of the computer screen. This may mean you need to place the screen on a stand or a ream of paper to ensure it is at the right height.
- You should feel supported when sitting in the chair. Your bottom and shoulder blade should be touching the backrest.
- You should use a chair with arm rests if possible, making sure that your arms are flat and that your elbows are at 90o and level with the desk.
- Your keyboard and screen should be straight in front of you, not to the side.
- If you work at your desk for prolonged periods of time, get up regularly to give your spine a break. You should never sit at your desk for longer than 40 minutes.
- When taking a break, get up and walk around, stretch a little; do something completely different to give your body a total break from sitting. Moving around even for less than a minute will give your back a chance to move. The best advice is simply not to sit for hours in one position. Keep moving!