Back to routine, but that back is certainly feeling the effects!

Feeling chained to your desk these days?

chainedYou are not alone! With the evolution of the office and computer work environment, many people spend their days sitting on a chair and staring at a computer screen. If only office companies would have thought of outdoor office spaces!

With the increased time spent sitting (at our desks, in our car, at the dinner table) we run the risk of developing various aches and pains. Follow these 5 simple steps on how to improve your work station:

  1. Adjust the height of the chair.  Your feet should be flat on the floor, which allows for your hips and pelvis to be at the same height.  Use a footrest if your chair is not adjustable, and resist the temptation to cross your legs while sitting! This position will decrease circulation to your legs and feet.
  2. Keep your wrists in neutral position.  Avoid bending your wrists sharply upwards or downwards to type. Make sure that if you are using a wrist rest that it doesn’t force your wrists to excessively bend down! Try to opt for a “split-design” keyboard.
  3. Adjust your monitor.  Ideally, the centre of the monitor should sit at eye level and always directly in front of your face and about an arm’s length away.
  4. Keep your mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse pad may be useful in keeping your wrist from bending awkwardly.stretch
  5. Get up and move! Every 30-45 minutes, stand and do a few quick  stretches. Sitting for long periods will create soreness in your muscles and joints. If you are in your car or trying to stay awake during that important quarterly meeting, at least shift your weight in your chair and do a few neck and shoulder stretches.

Apart from sitting for long periods, our backs can also be injured and get achy from improper lifting techniques. Keep these tips in mind next time you need to lift a heavy object:

  1. Check it out before risking putting your back out.  Test the weight of the object, and where it needs to be placed. Does it have handles? If it’s too heavy or an awkward shape, make sure to ask for help.
  2. Get as close as possible to the object. Place your feet wide to give yourself a stable base.
  3. Save the twist for the dance floor. Keep your body facing the object when you lift and carry it.lifting
  4. Lifting from a low level? Don’t even think about bending from that waist. Bend from your hips and knees instead. Alternatively, you could lower down on one knee and slide the object toward you before pushing your body upwards.
  5. Make it smooth. Don’t jerk your body back up as you lift. Use your arms and legs. Keep the object close to your body, take a breath and at the exhale tighten your core muscles to brace your back. Bend your elbows and straighten your knees to lift the object up. While carrying, keep the object close to your body at all times.
  6. Pushing is usually easier then pulling.  If you have to pull, keep the cart at your side to avoid extending your back.
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