In a business city like Hong Kong, it isn’t odd to see someone working 10-12 hours a day sitting at their desk. The price of this productivity is that prolonged sitting is at the root of many health problems facing modern Hong Kong-ers.
Even the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, was quoted as saying “sitting is the new cancer.”
There are several health related issues that can be linked to poor ergonomics.
Sitting for hours every day have been linked to cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, musculo-skeletal issues (back and neck pain), weight gain and more.
Nerve and tendon disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome and epicondylitis can be caused by awkward posture and repetitive motions associated with keyboard and mouse use. Poor monitor positioning can also contribute to neck and shoulder pain.
Regardless of how it happens, discomfort and pain in the workplace reduces worker performance and lowers job satisfaction.
In this article we will look at what you can do to improve posture and avoid the pitfalls that come with sitting for hours on end.
The first step is to know what to look for.
What is the right posture?
Tips for proper positioning:
- Screen MUST be at eye level
- Sit straight: this is hard sometimes but a simple trick is to visualise your ears in line with your shoulders and shoulders in line with your hips.
- Hold your elbows close to your waist and kept at least at an angle of 90 degrees
- A chair with lumbar support helps keep your back straight, ensuring a more upright position
Tips for “keeping the juices flowing”:
- Get up and move
Sitting for long periods of time can slow down your blood flow, create weakness in your abdominal muscles and your bones can get thinner due to lack of activity.
Take some time out of your day, preferable every ½ hour, to take a walk to the bathroom, get yourself a glass of water or do some stretches (more about this later).
- Use a lumbar support pillow
ending on the quality of your desk chair, getting yourself a lumbar support pillow is probably the most economical way of improving the ergonomics of your work station.
They are designed to prevent unhealthy sitting positions and do some of the work for you by helping to maintain the natural curve of the spine.
Most good office chairs should have a naturally curved back. It’s there for a reason, sit all the way back and let the chair do the work.
- Don’t cross your legs
Although it may be comfortable, sitting with your legs crossed for long periods can put pressure on the peroneal nerve on the back of your knee. That’s why you start to feel pins and needles in your feet or toes when you sit like this for too long.
Crossing your legs can even cause varicose veins, but if having your feet flat on the floor feels uncomfortable, try raising them up with an old laptop stand or something sturdy.
- And the most important thing: STRETCH!
“We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day,” says Joan Price, author of “The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book.”
by Ines De Beer, Osteopath DO
The Round Clinic
T 2648 2612