In the early spring, we see signs of growth everywhere as tulips and hyacinth sprout and stretch their leaves, and blooming trees open to the sun. Though office workers may not have access to direct sunlight, you can also stretch and grow by keeping your back healthy. These are our top three tips for keeping your back happy when you have to sit at a computer for work.
Support Your Lower Back
When most people think about improving their posture, they think of the mantra “Sit up straight”. While not slouching is definitely the way to go, the opposite is not necessarily a back that is straight and inflexible as a pin. Your back is designed to support your body weight while falling in a gentle s-curve position. Though the s-curve position feels natural while standing, it’s easy for your back to lose this shape while sitting.
To help your back assume it’s natural shape, choose a chair that provides support for your lumbar spine, or lower back. Even if your desk chair doesn’t have built in support, use a small pillow or rolled up sweater placed at your lower back to reduce strain and help align your neck and shoulders properly.
Set Up your Space
It can be hard to maintain proper posture if your desk is not correctly set up for your body. Adjust your seat height so that your feet rest on the floor and your knees bend at a 90-degree angle. Your elbows should also be at a roughly 90-degree angle, and your wrists straight over your keyboard. The main goal of proper keyboard arrangement is to prevent your shoulders from creeping up toward your ears.
Align your monitor so that it is at eye level – this may mean investing in a monitor stand or stacking some books under your monitor. Placing your monitors correctly will help avoid eye strain and keep you from straining your neck and shoulders as you look at your computer screen. Sit back slightly in your chair so that the angle of your hips and back is slightly greater than 90-degrees.
Get up and Move
Even if you have perfect posture, staying in the same position for long periods can, over time, lead to tightened ligaments and tendons, which can be very painful. Every thirty minutes or so, adjust your position. Stretch your neck, your shoulders, take a lap around the office, refill your water bottle or grab a piece of fruit from the break room. Similarly to moving around during a long flight, getting up during the work day helps your heart by making it easier to get blood from your feet and legs. For some moving inspiration, check out these awesome office stretches.