If you're like 80 percent of Americans, you work a job that is largely sedentary, or at best, that requires minimal physical activity. Eventually, and probably much sooner than you think, those long hours spent at a desk will start to take a toll on your body. The ill health effects of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented, and combatting these with regular movement and exercise is a must. However, there are steps that you should also take while seated to protect your health, and your spine in particular. Here are some things you can do now to make your desk more ergonomic and spine-friendly.
How to Reduce Work-Related Spine Strain
Find your Natural Posture
o The best way to sit is with your feet on the floor in front of you, shoulders relaxed, and backside behind you. Sitting this way ensures that your vertebrae are stacked and aligned.
o You can also focus on aligning your head and neck right above your shoulders.
Keyboard and Mouse Placement
o Your keyboard and mouse should be positioned in such a way that makes your elbows stay by your side and your arms at or below a 90-degree angle, about shoulder-width apart.
o Ideally, all desks would have a pull-out keyboard tray. Your spine benefits when your keyboard is just a couple inches above your thighs.
o In addition, tilt your keyboard down and away from you. This allows your arms and hands to follow the downward slope of your thighs.
Reposition your Screens
o Placing your screen too far can cause you to crane your neck.
o To find the best place for your screen, sit back and extend your arm. The tips of your middle finger should touch the screen.
Adjust your Chair
o Find a chair that offers good lumbar support.
o The chair length is important as well. When you're seated, there should be about a fist-sized space between the back of your knees and the chair.
o Adjust the chair's length so that your feet do not dangle. Feet should be flat on the floor. Shorter people may need to utilize a stool.
o It may also help to have the chair slightly reclined.
Breathe from your Belly
o As you take each breath throughout the day, focus on drawing your naval toward your spine to engage the core muscles and place less strain on the neck and shoulders.
Do not Cross your Legs
o Your spine has a hard time staying aligned when you sit cross legged. You are also interrupting blood flow in the legs, which can lead to varicose veins.
Get Up and Move
o Most importantly, take a break at least once every hour to get up and walk around or stretch. Many fitness watches now have options to let you set reminders to move.
o You can also stretch your shoulders while sitting by rolling them back and forth and up and down.
You may not be able to control your office or desk circumstances every day, but you can control how your back is treated during the work day. In addition to the tips above, consider seeing a chiropractor. Through regular adjustments, chiropractic care can aid in your efforts to keep your back strong and flexible. Contact either of the two locations of SouthEast Chiropractic today to schedule your appointment and begin your own chiropractic care regimen.