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Your Mother Was Right

Sep 6, 2007
Sit up straight! No slouching! Keep your feet on the floor! How many times did we all hear that growing up? For many people our mother's admonitions about good posture seemed like a broken record playing ad-infinitum. However, as the science of ergonomics continues to show and remind us, correct posture makes a huge difference to bone density, to prevent repetitive motion injuries, to the energy with which you use to get through our day, and to our overall appearance and happiness. Ask anyone who has every dealt with workman's comp or sports training and they will all tell you the same thing. Your mother was right.

Four On The Floor

There is some law of gravity that has yet to be defined. Teenagers have the uncanny ability to lean back with 2 chair legs up in the air while dangling their feet and still not fall backwards. From that we develop the tendency when sitting to elevate our feet (even when we not longer have the natural balance to tip our chairs up) by putting them on the ledge of the desk or a stool underneath them. However this restricts circulation puts pressure on the ankles or heels and creates incongruities within the rest of the body structure. The best posture for working or sitting for long periods is to have to legs between a 90 - 110 degree angles and keep both feet flat on the floor. It's not as fun as when we used to tip our chairs back, but it is much better for us in long run.

Align That Spine

When sitting your spine should be aligned, with your back straight and your head balanced in the center. You shouldn't twist your body to the left or right on lean in. Your shoulders should be squared and forward but in a relaxed, natural manner. Remember the Greek words that make up ergonomics mean "work with nature". This can be problematic for people who wear headsets or have monitors that cause them to look down or lean over. Every workstation should be adjustable so that a person can look no lower than a 30 degree angle at their monitor, and their chairs should support well their back and spine. As the work day goes on, the tendency to lean back in the chair or lean over to talk to co-workers can take your body out of its best working posture and send you home with a sore back.

Present Arms

Low desks or high seats combined with old or poor keyboard can create the number one hazard to carpal tunnel syndrome misaligned wrists. In a good posture setting, arms should be at the side and bent at the elbows. The wrists should be positioned in enough of a downward motion as to work naturally with the height of the keyboard. Typing with the wrists on the keyboard causing the hands to bend upward puts pressure and compression on the wrists and makes it much harder for the muscles in the hand to work properly.

Posture used to seem like one of those things your mother used to bring up when she didn't have anything else to complain about. But now through the science of ergonomics she can be affirmed that she really was just looking out for our best interests.
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