POSTURE AND ERGONOMICS – IS IT IMPORTANT?

Good posture – We are sure you’ve heard this phrase! Have you been told to fix your posture or ‘stand up straight’? But, do you know exactly why and what good posture is?

 

Posture is the position of the body while sitting, standing or even when lying down. Your skeleton and muscles are responsible for this. When it comes to your position at work, it is important to remember that even good posture, when held for a long time can lead to fatigue and discomfort.

This image shows examples of everyday postures. Note that in each example of ‘good posture’ the back is straight and the natural curves of the spine are maintained.

UNDERSTANDING CORRECT POSTURE

To help us understand what good posture is, we need to consider the alignment of our joints, this is how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles line up. The symmetry between one side of the body and the other is also an important factor. We also need to think about what a ‘neutral’ position looks like. Neutral is when the joints are not bent and the spine is not twisted. For example, the neck; neutral is where we are looking straight ahead and not down, this puts less stress on the spine. In an office, observing people working with bent backs and twisted wrists is common, these are examples of poor postures.


This image shows that when the head moves forward the weight on the spine increases significantly.

BENEFITS OF GOOD POSTURE

  • It can decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • It can help to improve breathing and blood circulation.
  • Good posture can prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Reduces the risk of fatigue by using muscles more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevents muscle strain or overuse problems such as back or neck pain
  • Contributes to a good appearance.

 

4 TIPS TO IMPROVE POSTURE

1. Stand tall! Aim for your earlobes to line up with the middle of your shoulders.

2. Keep your shoulders back and your back straight. Remember to do this when changing postures also.

3. Become aware of and correct habits. For example, standing more on one leg, sitting with your legs crossed, using a shoulder bag on the same shoulder always or tendency to lean on one elbow are postural habits. It is worthwhile identifying what your own postural habits are and acting on them as soon as possible.

4. Change position frequently – often we adopt poor postures because we have been static for too long and our body feels tired. This is your body telling you to move. Change posture at least every 45 minutes.

Have patience! – It is not unusual to feel that correcting your posture feels awkward. Remember that your body has been accustomed to sitting or standing in a certain posture. With discipline, you can make significant improvements that will be beneficial in and outside of the office.

 

ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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