If you, like me, spend way too much time sitting at your desk during the day, here are a few ideas for you!
Be Active at Work
In addition to your regular fitness activities, put movement into your daily work routine. If you can stand instead of sitting, then stand. Take the stairs. Take a walk at lunch. You can even do a basic workout at your desk. Keep a pair of small handheld weights or resistance bands at the ready for lifts and raises. More than one person I’ve known sits on one of those huge balance/exercise balls instead of their chair at work. I plan on trying that- it should really strengthen your core since you have to balance on it while you’re working!
Set Up Your Workstation for the Best Ergonomics
A designer chair won’t help you if it isn’t adjusted for you and your body. Here are some tips for setting up and using your workspace.
* Chair: Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor and your knees are about level with your hips. If your chair doesn’t offer lumbar support, place a cushion between the curve in your lower back and the back of the chair. Take the time to adjust all the parts of the chair, not just the height, so that it fits you. How old is your chair? Technology has come a long way in the last decade. Make sure your chair isn’t “vintage.”
* Mouse position: Place your mouse within easy reach on the side of your keyboard. Keep your wrist in a natural and comfortable position when you’re using your mouse. Using a trackball or tablet may help if you have trouble with your wrists.
* Wrist rest: Use a wrist rest to minimize stress on your wrists and prevent awkward wrist positions. While typing, hold your hands and wrists above the wrist rest.
* Wrist position: When you’re typing, keep your wrists in a straight, natural position — not bent up, down or to either side.
* Headset: If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and shoulder.
* Footrest: If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor, consider using a footrest. Various types of desk footrests are available. Or you can get creative and make your own. Try a small stool or a stack of sturdy books.
* Posture: Center your body in front of your monitor and keyboard. Sit up straight, keeping your thighs horizontal with the ground with your knees at about the same level as your hips. Keep your forearms level or tilted up slightly.
* Desk: To see if your desk is the right height for you, sit in the normal position you’ll be in at your desk with your chair at the correct height for your body (see above). Then rest your arms at your sides, keeping your elbow at a 90-degree angle and your upper arms in line with your torso. If the desk is the right height, your hands should rest comfortably on top of it. Make sure there’s room under the desk for your legs, knees and thighs. Don’t store things under the desk where your legs need to be.
* Monitor height: Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away (generally 18 to 28 inches). The top of the screen should be slightly below eye level. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.
Stretch It Out
Taking regular stretch breaks throughout the day can help reduce the risk of strain or injury. Stretching can even increase your productivity and improve your circulation and flexibility. To get started, sit with good posture in your chair and grip the seat of the chair with your hands.
* Stretch your neck in all six ranges of motion, holding for 10 to 15 seconds each. Begin the neck series by lowering your chin to your chest and holding, then lean your head back as far as you can. Next, start with your head facing forward, then slowly lower the right ear toward the right shoulder, then lower the left ear toward the left shoulder. Then, starting with your head upright again, turn your head to the right so that your chin is close to your right shoulder. Then do the same movement to the left.
* Pull your shoulders up high, hold for two or three seconds, and then drop them to a normal position and hold for two or three seconds. Repeat each movement 10 times.
* Stretch your upper back by putting your arms out in front of you with your palms together or with the back of the hands touching each other. Bend over at the upper back like you are going off a diving board. Bend your chin to your chest at the same time.
Hold for 10 seconds.