A large part of what we do at Desktop Innovations is to try and increase the comfort, health and overall well-being of those who use our products. To this end most of our stands, tables and other items of furniture have been designed ergonomically, which is to say they have been designed to reduce the fatigue and discomfort of those operating them. Sadly not everyone has the opportunity to benefit from ergonomically designed furniture at work, which is why we are going to spend a bit of time sharing some tips with you, which ought to help you improve your posture whilst sitting at a desk and generally improve the way you feel.
Firstly, it is imperative that you try to constantly observe proper sitting posture. Your back should be kept straight, your shoulders back and the top of your monitor should be adjacent to the height of your eyes. It is equally important not to have your wrists resting on the keyboard or the mouse pad and if you cannot help it get a wrist-supporting cushion to help keep your wrists raised. The reason for this is that resting your wrists on hard, solid surfaces can result in the onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which causes pain, loss of feeling and weakness by compressing the carpal tunnel, located in the wrist. Finally, adjust your seat so that your legs bent at the knees and are only marginally higher than your hips, with your feet placed flat on the floor, on a stool or on a specially designed foot rest.
It is always a good idea to get up from your desk and engage in some light exercise. In fact, offices in Japan have their employees perform exercises regularly at their desks as they believe it encourages higher performance. It doesn’t require anything strenuous, just every hour or so, get up and walk around for a minute or so, to ensure the blood in your arms and legs is still circulating, this will keep them from getting too strained. If possible and if your co-workers would not be distracted by it, take a second to sit on the floor and do a few sit-ups, or jumping jacks, you will be surprised how much something so small will help you feel.
Even if you are disincline to getting up for a stroll or getting down for some sit-ups, a small amount of time spent doing some stretches while sitting can help you immeasurably. These stretches can be done almost any time to lessen tension and strain.
• Neck: Start by slowly tilting your head forward then back, then tilt your head from side to side, followed by simply looking right then left. Never roll your head around your neck as this can damage the joints in your neck.
• Shoulders: Simply roll your shoulders forward and then backward around 10 times each. This will help them release some tension.
• Arms and Shoulders: A great way to stretch your arms and shoulders is to place your hands on the edge your desk, a shoulder width apart from the rest of your body. Twist your hands inwards, so they face toward your body and lean in forward, hunching your shoulders. If this is too easy for you and you want more of a challenge, continue by pushing your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk.
• Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly, around every hour or so. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times anti-clockwise. Great if you spend a lot of time typing.
• Ankles: Like your wrists, rolling your ankles regularly is a great way to improve blood circulation, and prevent numbness and discomfort.
• Chest: If you have the tendency to hunch in front of your computer, counter it by performing the following exercise: spread your arms apart as if you are going in for a hug. Then, thumbs up in the air, turn your wrists so that your thumbs are facing outward and pull your shoulders back. Abdomen: Suck in your stomach, hold there for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this every few minutes all day long while you're working at your desk.
• Calves: While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down, repeating until your legs are comfortably tired. About 10 minutes later, continue and keep doing this for about an hour. This will exercise will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs which are very common among middle-aged computer users.
Other than stretching, there are other little tricks and tips you can take. Firstly, ignore some modern conveniences; take the stairs, rather than the lift. Don’t fight your way to the closest parking, park further away and enjoy the walk. Take a screen break every now and again by covering your eyes for a minute or so. There is a lot you can do to alleviate the stress and strains, but we cannot stress enough the benefits of just getting up and away from your desk for a minute and going for a little wander.