3 Tips to Help You Stay Healthy When You Have a Sit-Down Job
Working is a necessary activity that many people do sitting down at an office workstation. The ergonomics of your workstation can affect your health, and the wrong type of ergonomics can cause disease and injury. Here are some tips to help you choose a workstation and stay healthy at work.
Choose Your Office Chair Wisely
A big part of the proper ergonomics at your workstation is to have the right office chair. Your office chair should be adjustable in many areas of its structure. The armrests, chair height, backrest height, and lumbar position should all be adjustable so you can adjust them to your body. For example, not everyone has the same length of torso, and forearms, so not all office chairs fit everyone's body the same. For your body to rest comfortable at your workstation, your chair should be able to be adjusted to fit its own ergonomic requirements.
Your chair's backrest should be able to recline back when you lean back in your chair. Leaning back in your chair rests and puts less strain on your back than when you sit up straight or lean forward in your chair. A chair that swivels and has wheels on its base can make moving around at your workstation easier. And if your workstation sits on a carpeted floor, make sure your wheels can move freely over the carpeting or you should lay down a smooth-surface chair mat.
It can be helpful to choose a chair that has a woven fabric that will provide breathability while you sit, which can help keep you cool. Leather and vinyl can block airflow and cause you to sweat while you are sitting in your chair. Also make sure the fabric and any seams of the chair do not irritate or rub your skin while you sit. Make sure the fabric is stain-resistant and can be cleaned easily.
Check Your Workstation's Ergonomics
Your workstation, which includes your chair and desk, needs to allow you to sit at and work comfortably without straining any areas of your body. Your forearms should be horizontal to the floor with a slight incline toward your keyboard. This helps your wrists and fingers sit at a relaxed position while you type at your keyboard, which can help prevent carpel tunnel syndrome and other straining injuries in your wrists and hands. A keyboard tray that tilts your keyboard in a downward position can help your forearms rest in a more natural position.
If you have a taller desk, make sure you can adjust your chair to the height of your desk, especially as desks are usually installed at a fixed height and use a foot rest to support your feet. If you allow your feet to dangle, this can put pressure on your legs and cut off circulation while you sit. As you sit at your desk, your thighs should sit horizontally to the floor and your feet should be positioned flat on the floor.
Your seat depth should be appropriate to allow your knees to extend over the edge of the chair a few inches while you rest your back on the chair's backrest. You should be able to place three to four finger-widths between the back of your knees and the front edge of your chair.
Take Frequent Breaks From Sitting
Sitting for long periods of time while you are at work can negatively affect your body's health. It is recommended to not sit for longer than 50 minutes. Take short breaks every 50 minutes or less to take a short walk around the office. Each break down not need to be a long walk. A short walk to the bathroom, copy machine, or the drinking fountain can help your health favorably.
Employees who sit at their desk all day long have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease than those who stand at work, so stand up and walk around when you can. Then, be sure to get regular exercise outside of work each day, such as swimming, biking, running, or walking.
Use these tips to help you tailor your workstation to your body to help your health.