Any physical activity you do consistently can affect how you feel (for better or worse). That’s why ergonomics—the science of arranging things people use for the most efficient and safest interactions—is so important.
If you work in front of a computer, for instance, less-than-ideal posture can lead to long-term health problems. Lower back pain, neck or shoulder pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are just a few examples.
To prevent conditions like these, practice good ergonomic habits:
- Use care when lifting. Lift within the safety zone (elbow to knuckle height), and bend at the hips and knees.
- Look straight ahead. Laptops and phones are convenient, but they’re not always the best for our health since we typically look down at their screens. A larger monitor (or an elevated laptop) may make it easier for you to look straight ahead when working, alleviating strain on your neck.
- Recline a bit when sitting. Sitting at a 90-degree angle puts a lot of pressure on your hips. Instead, try to recline slightly.
- Place your keyboard and mouse at the right height. Your forearms and hands should be straight and level. If you’ve raised your laptop to put the screen at a comfortable height, you may need a separate keyboard and mouse so they can be positioned independently. Move around. Break up your work routine with stretching, walking, and different postures.
- Put your feet flat on the floor. Letting your feet dangle or putting them underneath you may increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis—a potentially fatal condition. Instead, place your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
Prioritize your positioning
Developing good ergonomic habits will help you feel less tired and sore at the end of the workday. It will also help to prevent chronic, painful conditions over time.