Saturday, August 25, 2007

WHEN YOU SIT MOST OF THE DAY...

Time after time, we plop down into our chairs at work (or at home) and don’t give a thought to how we are sitting. When sitting for long periods of time, we forget the stresses being put upon on our arms, shoulders, necks, backs, hips, legs and feet. By sitting improperly at work, we exert great amounts of pressure on our lower back (the lumbar region) and the joints or disks of our spine, as well as our arms and legs. Proper support and posture can eliminate most of this pressure. In many cases, postural problems can be solved with adjustments to the chair. If not,
modifications can be made to other areas of the work station to accommodate almost any body size.

For example:
· You are short and your legs don’t reach the floor. This puts pressure on the back of your thighs and cuts off blood circulation. Adjust the chair seat to a lower height or place a foot rest under your feet to raise the backs of your thighs off the chair. (If you lower your chair, you may also need to lower your monitor and keyboard.)
· You lean back in your chair and it turns into a recliner. Adjust the tension on the chair tilt to
accommodate your body weight, and to support your body when you lean back in the chair. The pan or seat of the chair and the chair back should move together. That way, even when leaning back, support is maintained on the lumbar region.
· Your shoulders and neck hurt when you type or write for long periods. Check to see if the arms of the chair are causing you to “HUNCH” your shoulders up as you write or type. This “hunching” may be causing static muscle tension and can sometimes be relieved by lowering the arm rests. Also, check to see if your chair is too high or too low, which causes you to shift your head up and down to see the monitor. Raising or lowering your chair may fix the problem, or propping the monitor to a different level may do the trick. Placing your copy text at a more comfortable height, adjacent to the monitor, may also help relieve stress.
· Sitting at your desk writing, typing, and other tasks can make your eyes hurt. Where we sit is
just as important as how we sit. Excessive glare coming from a window or materials we are reading, or from a monitor we are using, can lead to eye strain. Draw the shades, dim bright lights and use task lighting. Get a glare screen for the monitor if needed or reposition your desk.
· Remember, when you sit for long periods of time, body parts can go numb. Don’t sit in the same position too long! The best fix for chair fatigue is to periodically get up and move around. Stretch or do some other tasks like going to the copy machine or filing paper work. This change of activity is good for you and will eliminate most of the stress that comes from doing the same task for a long a period of time.
Generally speaking, the equipment used in an office environment is not the direct cause of many of our aches and pains. Instead it’s the lack of understanding of how our body reacts when we hold one position too long. If you need help adjusting your office equipment, consult your supervisor. Mother used to say, “Sit up straight and you will feel much better!" But since your mother doesn’t work here, you’ll have to take care of yourself!

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