Are you getting the most from your home office?
So you went from sitting in a comfy desk chair at your office to your kitchen table. And now you can’t stand up.
The worldwide pandemic has taken its toll on our posture as thousands of workers and students have taken their work home – and found they don’t have a good place to sit, at least not for eight to 10 hours a day.
So how should you set up a work station or desk so you and/or your kid don’t end up twisted into knots?
- Put your computer monitor at eye level.
- Put your keyboard straight in front of you and your telephone and mouse within easy reach.
- Make sure your chair follows the shape of your spine and supports your back.
- Your feet should be resting comfortably on the floor.
- Armrests should be adjustable, close to your body and your shoulders are relaxed.
- Avoid crossing your knees or ankles.
- Position your knees at the same height or lower than your hips.
- Place your ankles in front of your knees.
Desk, Table, or Chairs. Back Support is key.
Even if you’re sitting correctly in an ergonomic chair that supports your back, you can’t sit there all day. Making the most of your home office means, move! When you’re at the office or at school, you get up to go to a co-worker’s desk, the cafeteria, or out to lunch. Working and having school from home means you can flop on the couch and watch TV with your laptop, and before you know it, you haven’t moved in hours.
Get up – you’re life literally depends on it! Risks from prolonged sitting include diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, varicose veins, compressed discs in your back, deep vein thrombosis, high blood pressure, weakening of muscles in legs, osteoporosis, anxiety, and depression.
Keep your body busy while you are working.
- Stand up or go for a walk while you’re talking on the phone.
- Take a break every 30 minutes to stretch, move, and reposition your back.
- Try a standing desk or put your laptop on a high table or counter so you can stand up to work.
- Put your laptop on your treadmill and walk while you work.
And try to get in exercise after work and on the weekend to counter all that sitting. Research shows endurance training could counteract the effects of sitting for long periods. Prolonged sitting can lessen blood flow to the legs, but it is not as severe in people who do endurance training. Just 30 minutes a day of physical activity can reduce the risk of early death by 17 percent.
Looking for ways to get moving? Try some yoga in the morning, do some lunges between Zoom meetings, get in some stretches, deep squats, pushups, or planks to break up the day. And you can always go for a nice socially-distanced walk, even more, beneficial if you take your pup and stroll in the park.
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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