Ergonomic Health 101 | RMHP Blog

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Ergonomic Health 101

Exploring the Best Ergonomic Office Setup

 

If your back has even been tense and sore after sitting in a desk chair for too long, poor ergonomics might be to blame (though posture certainly plays a role, too). Similarly, typing away at a keyboard all day, every day can lead to painful wrists and a lingering sense of frustration.

 

Repetitive tasks and long days can result in injuries that range from minor to major, but proper ergonomics can help you feel a lot better. If you want to learn how to manage your ergonomic health, keep reading. Learn more about ergonomics and how you can optimize your workspace.

 

What is ergonomics?

You may have seen products like ergonomic keyboards and ergonomic desks, but the term encompasses far more than the things you use at your desk.

 

Ergonomics is defined as, “the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them … Ergonomics applies to the design of anything that involves people – workspaces, sports and leisure, health and safety.”

 

Desks are common culprits for ergonomic issues like repetitive strain injury (RSI), but ergonomics also covers how we move within our environments. Lifting heavy boxes, crouching repeatedly, reaching above our heads, and other tasks can all lead to ergonomic injuries if you aren’t careful.

 

How to prevent ergonomic injuries

Since so many people work at desks in offices, that’s where we’ll focus today. And, since most people use sitting desks, we’ll explain how to make those work spaces more ergonomically friendly. However, many office workers have found that standing desks improve the way they feel and work.

 

Choosing the right ergonomic chair

If you’re sitting at a desk, you obviously need a comfortable chair. You can purchase a new chair that’s specifically designed for better ergonomic health, but there are also some quick fixes that work for many existing chairs:

  • Arm rests are ideal. They should be low enough for your elbows to bend at a 90 degree angle when you’re resting your arms.
  • Being able to adjust your seat height is also important. Your feet should lay flat on the floor, allowing your thighs to sit parallel to the floor. Your arms should rest at the height of your typing/mousepad area.
  • A chair with an angled adjustable backrest and lumbar support will be game changing. Adjusting the seat forward makes it easier to maintain good posture, and lumbar support helps maintain the natural curvature of your back. You can purchase add-on lumbar supports for your chair, but a rolled-up towel also works in a pinch.

 

Keyboard and mouse placement

Thanks to your adjustable chair, your keyboard and mouse should already be at the proper height. If your wrists bend while typing or using the mouse, you need to adjust the height of your chair.

 

Next, focus on where you put your keyboard — centering the “B” key with your body is the way to go.

 

Computer monitor placement for ergonomic health

If you’re using your computer right now, where are you looking? There’s a good chance the answer is, “down.” Over time, this puts unnecessary strain on your neck and can lead to injury. Ideally, your screen will be at eye level.

 

You can purchase a variety of monitor stands -- a quick and easy fix.

 

If you tackle these fundamentals there’s a good chance you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel during and after a long day at the office. For even more tips, have a look at this office ergonomics article from UCLA.

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