We hear so much about the mental strains that the office can take on workers. Long hours, office politics and big workloads all contribute to stress and exhaustion. What doesn’t get mentioned quite as often is the toll that a desk job can take on you physically. Sitting in the same position for hours can place tension on the back and shoulder areas and can seriously affect your posture. The NHS claims that between 2010 and 2011 there were just under 200,000 cases of upper limb disorders; a number which may have been so high due to the increasing use of laptops for work purposes.
Thankfully, the guys at spine-health have come up with 10 tips to help you to sit correctly at your desk and avoid causing long term damage to your body. The advice is practical and most of the points are things that you can start implementing immediately. Using a separate keyboard and mouse allows your wrist to operate in a more natural way, and keeps your shoulders at a more comfortable angle. They recommend sitting with your elbows at a 90° angle for maximum comfort.
Positioning your chair at the correct angle can also improve comfort levels. Slightly reclining (this requires a decent desk chair) and raising your legs off the ground removes pressure from the lower back. They suggest that your hips are level with your knees. “Don’t slouch” is an important one too; you should never be looking down at the screen. By attaching a separate keyboard you can raise the screen up to eye level.
Here’s a little video that illustrates how you should be sitting (it has some great music towards the end too)!