Many of the online Pilates class members are working long hours from home at the moment and are asking what is the best work station arrangement (computer, table, chair set up) for good posture. Here are some top tips for a happy back, neck and shoulders.
1. Lumbar Support
Sit at a chair (preferably with arms) with a high back and a good back rest. Make sure you are sitting in an upright position and not sitting at the edge of the seat. You can roll a towel up and place it at the curve of your lower back for lumbar support. If you have an office chair already great but if not think about getting one if you are going to be spending even one day working from home now long term. You could always ask your office to loan you one or buy it for you 🙂
2. Feet Placement and Leg Position
Place your feet flat on the floor with 90 degrees behind the knees when sitting on the chair, toes and heels in line, legs hip-distance apart. No crossing legs!!
3. Arm Position
Rest your hands on the keyboard with a 90-degree angle at your elbows (best with a chair that has armrests). Your upper arm should be as vertical as possible. This will open out your chest and shoulder muscles and help prevent soreness in the upper back and neck.
4. Keyboard Height
It is critical that you adjust your chair to allow your forearms to be parallel to the floor and level to the keyboard. If you don’t have an adjustable chair use cushions to raise yourself up and a cushion is also more comfortable to sit on.
5. Keyboard Set Up
Your keyboard should be positioned so that the bottom of your wrist isn’t touching the edge of your desk or keyboard constantly as this is much more likely to inflame your wrist flexor tendons (lower wrist) and you’ll be more prone to get something called carpal tunnel syndrome. To prevent unwanted repetitive stress injuries use a protective wrist pad.
6. Set Your Screen At The Correct Height
The screen should be central to your body position and not off to the side. The screen should be at eye level (you are looking ahead at the centre of the computer screen) so if you are using a laptop on a table you are never going to have the screen at the correct height. Use the laptop as a screen lift it up on to books or get a stand and buy a separate keyboard and mouse (see video for more details).
7. Mix It Up!
Sit at a chair for part of the day, a standing desk for the rest and/ or a swiss ball/ fit ball. The mobility you get from sitting on a swiss ball improves fluid and nutrition delivery to the discs of the spine. A swiss ball also improves overall blood flow keeping the muscles of the legs and torso active. You’ll have to switch on those core muscles whether you like it or not for balance too. Always rotate though with either chair sitting, ball sitting or standing. Don’t spend 8hrs doing the one thing.
8. Invest In Your Desk Set Up And Your Body
If you think you are going to be working from home long term even one day a week invest in a good chair with a backrest and a headrest if you can. Also a table at the correct height and think about light in the room and where it is coming from. Have you got enough light or are you peering and taking that head of yours into a forward head posture which can bring on all kinds of things like headaches? 🙁
9. Give Yourself A Break
Every 30 mins eg. tea, coffee, water 🙂 or toilet break for 5mins just to get up and move around. Set a repeat alarm on your phone/ computer to remind you to take a break.
10. Happy, Healthy Back = Online Pilates Classes
Release those tense muscles and treat your body to weekly online Pilates class in your lunch hour or after work during the week if you want to improve your posture, become stronger and more flexible. You’re not travelling to and from work so you have that little bit of extra time to fit a class into your day.
If you have any questions regarding your work station set up or Pilates classes please get in touch.