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We Know ... Ergonomics

Posted by on in Atlantic Place
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Sitting Pretty 

 This is not a medieval torture device.

It’s an office chair!

This is one of many styles of ergonomic office chairs, and it’s designed to improve your posture at your desk. Justin and Chris, physiotherapists and co-owners of ProActive, want you to take sitting seriously. 

 Sitting on Top of the World

b2ap3_thumbnail_Justin.pngThere are a lot of options out there for those of us sitting at a desk all day. From standing desks to sitting on an exercise ball, we’ve seen them all! But do they really help you sit taller, strengthen your core, or improve productivity?

For most people, the answer is no.

Watch and Learn

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chris.pngOne of our physiotherapists, Peter Barbour, and I gave a webcast last year about ergonomics and lower back pain. In it, we talk about the biggest back offender (snow shovelling), but also about how sitting can affect your work and about how ergonomics can help.

Sitting Idly By

b2ap3_thumbnail_Justin.pngThe biggest takeaway from our webcast was an easy one: “Your best position is your next position! You should aim to change position every 15 minutes or so.”

When you’re sitting all day, you want to maintain good blood circulation. So stand and walk around a fair bit, and make sure your office chair is set up to help you move in ways that don’t cause you any pain. 

Practical Solutions

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chris.pngYou can spend a fortune on a custom office chair, or $29 on an exercise ball, but if you’re hunched over or have trouble reaching things on your desk when sitting, you’re not helping improve your posture or your productivity.

Here are things you can do to sit comfortably:

  1. Have a fully adjustable office chair with proper lumbar support.
  2. Items on your desk that you use frequently, like your phone or pen holder, should be within reach to avoid straining. 
  3. The top of your computer monitor should be at eye level to avoid neck strain.
  4. Your feet should rest flat on the floor. If they buckle, your chair should be adjusted higher, or if they dangle, a foot support should be used. 
  5. Make sure there’s a few inches between the seat and the back of your knees to prevent strain on the backs of your legs.”

What’s Next?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Justin.pngHere’s a simple diagram to show you the best way to sit at a desk, but remember to stretch your legs regularly. Instead of sending an email or internal message, get up and go talk to a co-worker! 

If you’re interested in learning more about sitting at work and staying pain-free and productive, visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for more information!

Want an ergonomic assessment for your team? Reach out today, and don’t forget to signup for our newsletter for more great tips and tricks right in your inbox. You might even win a free massage!

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About the author:

Justin has a passion for physiotherapy, which is why he partnered to create ProActive Physiotherapy. He’s since taken on a business role, but still likes to work with patients on a regular basis.


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