In this post I provide some brief pointers on good posture and healthy working habits.
A good working posture:
The key points to note are that your bottom should be at the back of your seat, in contact with the back support. You should adjust your back support so that it nestles in your lower back and allows you to sit with a slight backwards lean.
The height of your seat should be adjusted so you can sit with your feet flat on the floor and slightly in front of your knees.
If you rest your hands on your keyboard, your forearms should be horizontal - if this requires you to raise your seat so that your feet are no longer flat, you may need a footrest. If your desk is too low to allow this posture, you should look into ways of raising your desk.
Although this is an ideal posture, you should not aim to sit rigidly in it. Regular movement, even fidgeting, is very important to avoid developing musculoskeletal problems. However, you should aim to return to this good posture in between movements, and avoid sitting in consistently poor postures for any length of time.
Of course, some people use kneeling chairs, saddle chairs or stools, or even sit on exercise balls. Many people find ergonomic kneeling chairs and saddle chairs extremely useful, but they are still only as good as your posture while using them - it's still possible to slump badly in a kneeling chair!
Although Postureminder's advice is based around a standard, good quality office chair, if you have a saddle stool or kneeling chair, you can still use Postureminder to help you use it properly. Just follow the ergonomic advice provided by your chair manufacturer to set things up, then use Postureminder to help you keep to that advice.
Postures to avoid:
The most commonly seen poor postures are slumping (sometimes called slouching) or leaning. Both postures put additional pressure on the vertebrae in your back.
Other common poor postures include sitting with your weight more on one side than the other, or craning your neck forwards on your shoulders ('vulture-necking')
Another real no-no is working with your screen off to the side. This causes you to twist your neck and torso. Even if you don't use your computer that much, make sure it is set up so you can sit directly in front of it. You may need to rearrange your desk to achieve this, or even ask for a larger desk
Correct screen height:
You should adjust your screen height so that, when sitting correctly, the top of the screen is at eye level. Otherwise, you may be tempted to slump whilst using the computer. This may mean raising your monitor on a sturdy stand if it doesn't have built-in height adjustment
Correct screen distance:
Normal-sized screens should be placed at approximately arms length when sitting correctly. Any closer and you increase the risk of your eyes becoming tired through focusing so closely. Farther away, and you'll probably have trouble reading the screen, encouraging you to lean forwards
You should try to type with your wrists and forearms horizontal and your hands hovering just above the keyboard. Your keyboard should be placed so that you have just sufficient room between it and the edge of your desk to rest your hands when not typing. Don't place it too far away as this will encourage you to lean forwards, or stretch your arms and shoulders, to type. Don't type with your wrists bent back or resting on the desk, as these postures can increase your chances of developing RSI conditions. If you have a wrist rest, this is only for resting your wrists between bouts of typing
You should aim to use your mouse in a similar way to your keyboard, with your wrist and forearm horizontal. Avoid having the mouse too far away from your body as this causes tension in your arm and shoulder which can lead to RSI conditions
Movement is key:
No matter how good your posture is, sitting rigidly isn't the way forwards. Whilst there are good postures to aim for and bad postures to avoid sitting in for long periods, you should make sure to fidget, change posture and, of course, get up from the computer regularly! Postureminder software can help with break and micro-break reminders,
Postureminder provides intelligent, targeted posture reminders just when you need them to help you achieve better posture, and they are also designed to help you avoid sitting rigidly in good postures as well as bad ones!
Postureminder also includes detailed ergonomic advice to help you set up your working environment, adopt good postures and healthy working habits to protect your health and well-being.
We can supply larger employers with a comprehensive Display Screen Equipment (DSE) training package to train large numbers of computer staff in a cost-effective way, including completing a detailed self-assessment of their needs and working environment.
For comprehensive advice and real, day-to-day help to improve your posture and prevent or treat back pain, award-winning Postureminder software is the answer.
Request a free 30-day trial or visit our online shop to buy now.