Headsets, footrests, standing desks, seats with lumbar support and even mechanical suspension seats in tractors… the list of ergonomic accessories available for making our workplace that little bit more friendly on the body is growing longer by the day. So with these postural adjustments in place, is it ok for us to sit back (literally..) and think we’re not doing enough to ward off the development of any work related muscle tension?
I think you must know the answer. Mechanically we are not designed to maintain a sustained position for upward of eight hours a day, even if it’s ergonomically sound. Our bodies inherently crave movement. It increases blood flow and oxygenates our cells, yet so many of us ignore our bodies plea. The design of our joints is such that we can reach our hands high and stride our legs long, but the reality is we rarely explore the full range of motion on offer to us.
The key to keeping work related aches and pain at bay is to do something everyday to unwind or reverse the damages your body has been placed under. If you sit inside most of the day, then you move your body by going for a walk outside. If you stand all day then a bike ride would be perfect for you. If you do heavy lifting as part of your work, then ditch the weights at the gym in preference for something more decompressive like a swim. Consider your mental health too. If you work alone, then maybe a group fitness class would be beneficial, or if your office team environment has you seeking solitude at the end of the day then maybe a less interactive yoga or pilates class may hit the spot.
If you want your joints to stay young, and your bones to stay strong, then the reality is you need to move more than just your finger on your ergonomic vertical mouse. The old saying ‘move it or lose it’ couldn’t be more true.