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Staying Ergonomically Aligned in Everyday Life

27 December 2023

When it comes to the term "ergonomics," for most individuals, it's all related to the workplace. Typically, the idea of ergonomics revolves around fitting well into your workplace without straining your body so you can accomplish your workplace objectives. In a workplace setting, ergonomics primarily focus on your posture, the way you sit and use your desk and desk accessories such as your screen, keyboard and mouse. And while ergonomics plays an integral role in your workplace setting, its role is not limited to your workspace.

Ergonomics certainly involves your posture and the way you sit in your chair and use desk accessories, but it is also about adapting and adjusting to any space, which may include your car, your kitchen and even your backyard. With insight into ergonomics, you can manage to live a healthier life by reducing pain and avoiding injuries so you can improve your posture and bodily alignment every day.

In what follows, we look at how you can stay ergonomically aligned in your everyday life. The post focuses on being ergonomically aligned at your workplace and in other critical everyday areas of your life, like your kitchen and yard.

So let's get started.

Ergonomics in Your Workplace

Since ergonomics is typically associated with the workplace, let's start with how you can stay ergonomically aligned at your workplace.

Prolonged sitting, along with regular use of a keyboard, screen and mouse, can lead to frequent aches and pains unless you closely follow ergonomic principles. You can work more comfortably if you incorporate the following ergonomic tips into your everyday work schedule.

Maintaining Appropriate Posture and Position

While working in your office, ensure you always maintain a good posture and position.

Go for an Ergonomic Office Chair

Invest in an ergonomic office chair that provides adequate back support that allows you to maintain the natural curvature of your spine. Ergonomic Office Mesh Chair 1839 by FlexiSpot makes a great ergonomic office chair that allows you to sit comfortably at your desk while maintaining a good posture while working in your office or home office.

Place Your Feet Firmly on the Ground

Another critical aspect of maintaining appropriate posture and position is to keep your feet supported on the floor. Make sure your feet are placed on the floor as you sit. If the height of your chair doesn't allow you to place your feet firmly on the ground, you can use a footrest that can help place your feet firmly on the ground to help reduce pressure on your lower back.

Avoid Stretching or Bending

Moreover, while working at your desk, ensure that you avoid bending and twisting your neck and trunk. You can avoid such movements by ensuring that all the items you need to use frequently are positioned at arm's length, so you don't have to stretch yourself unnecessarily, which contributes to straining your body.

Keep Your Shoulders Relaxed

While sitting at your workstation, you should also ensure that you keep your shoulders relaxed with your elbows resting on the armrest of your ergonomic office chair.

Position your elbows, so they make an angle of 100 to 110 degrees to your upper arm, which helps keep your shoulders relaxed while working on your keyboard or mouse.

Take Regular Breaks

You need to give yourself a break when you have to spend long hours sitting. Short breaks allow you to rejuvenate your body. The impact is more profound if you include a few stretches as it helps improve the blood circulation in your body which helps offset the negative implications of prolonged sitting.

Improve Your Work Techniques

Here are a few techniques you need to know that will help improve and maintain proper posture while working.

Manage keystrokes by using applications and software programs,

Use scroll locks to minimize pointing-device movements,

Switch tasks to change your working position,

Keep your fingers relaxed when working at the keyboard,

Avoid holding a pen in your fingers while typing,

Gently press keyboard buttons as excessive force can strain your fingers,

Keep your hands relaxed when holding pointing devices such as a mouse, and

Give your eyes some rest when switching focus from your screen to other objects in your work environment.

Ergonomics in the Kitchen

Your workplace makes an integral aspect of your life. After all, the workplace typically takes up 1/3rd of an average person's day but what around the rest of your day?

Taking care of your posture and position is equally important throughout the rest of your day. An inevitable activity that makes a critical part of any person's everyday routine is spending some time in the kitchen.

Working in the kitchen involves many repetitive tasks, such as mixing, chopping, stirring, cooking and washing. And given that these are all repetitive movements, it shouldn't be a surprise why chefs often suffer from pain in the back, leg and feet.

Set up an Appropriate Working Surface and Height

If you spend time in the kitchen every day preparing food, you need to be careful about your posture. Make sure you stand upright and do not hunch. Moreover, you should perform your tasks on a surface (your kitchen counter and stove) with a comfortable working height. Furthermore, you should bring the task close to your body as it helps prevent muscle strains. And if you are wondering what the appropriate working height is, here is the answer.

The appropriate working height typically varies from person to person, but it is about 5 inches lower than your elbow. This height ensures that your arms are in a neutral position as you work.

Invest in an Underfoot

To ensure that your kitchen is an ergonomically functional space for you, it's best to invest in an underfoot such as an anti-fatigue mat. Since working in the kitchen may involve prolonged standing and upgrading your kitchen floor is not always viable, investing in an anti-fatigue mat makes a safe bet as it ensures comfortable standing.

Go for the Appropriate Storage

The ergonomic functioning of your kitchen isn't complete with organizing tools. Make sure you invest in appropriate storage to prevent stretching yourself into awkward positions that can strain your muscles.

Ergonomics in Childcare

While childcare may not be a concern for every working individual, however, parents make up to 40% of the workforce. And a majority of caregivers (around 66%) report musculoskeletal concerns. Some of the most frequently impacted body parts include the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and upper and lower back.

Ouch! The numbers hurt, and so does childcare, especially for new parents. If you are a new parent looking for ways to minimize strain on your body so you can cherish this important milestone in your life, you need to protect yourself against pain and injury.

As a new parent, ensure that you focus on maintaining the neutral position of your wrist while carrying your newborn. You should also take care of your back while lifting kids and their toys. Make sure you bend your knees to lift objects from the ground while keeping your spine straight. Moreover, you should also avoid twisting and turning unnecessarily.

Ergonomics in the Yard

Getting hands dirty in the garden is one of the favorite activities people enjoy during their free time. According to statistics, 55% of American households are involved in gardening, but crouching for your plants while twisting to grab your tools can put you at risk of injury, especially if ergonomics aren't employed.

To ensure that you maintain proper posture while you are involved in gardening, warm your body through some gentle stretching before you get started with the job. Moreover, ensure that all your tools are appropriately designed for the job and that you work below shoulder level whenever possible.

If you need to work on the ground for extended periods, using a kneepad will help avoid strain on your knees. Moreover, as you spend time in the yard, don't forget to take regular breaks and maintain neutral postures whenever possible. Lastly, don't forget to listen to your body, as it often tells you when it's time to stop.

Ergonomics While Driving

While there is an increasing trend of remote working, the need to drive your vehicle is there to stay. Hence, you need to know how to stay behind the wheel with minimal discomfort for your body.

Before you start driving the vehicle, ensure that you adjust the seat. Moreover, allow your knees to make an angle of 90 degrees with your thighs so you can conveniently reach the steering wheel and the pedals. And before you start driving, don't forget to adjust the rearview and side mirrors to ensure that you maintain an adequate viewing angle.

If you intend to cover a long distance, don't forget to take frequent breaks and gently stretch yourself, so your body gets the break it needs.

Being ergonomically aligned may seem like a workplace necessity but incorporating ergonomic awareness beyond your workplace is the key to reducing pain and injuries.

To find out more about ergonomic office furniture and accessories that can help you maintain proper body posture at work and beyond, get in touch with FlexiSpot.