Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics
Kelly Andrews offers ten excellent tips for better posture in the article, “Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomic.” Below are the ten tip and brief explanations of each suggestion:
1. Identify the warning signs of back pain caused by poor ergonomics and posture
Back pain may be the result of poor ergonomics and posture if the back pain is worse at certain times of day or week; pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back, and extremities; pain that goes away after switching positions; sudden back pain that is experienced with a new job, a new office chair, or a new car; and/or back pain that comes and goes for months.
2. Keep the body in alignment while sitting in an office chair and while standing
When standing, distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet. While sitting…sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line. Shifting forward to the edge of the seat with a straight back can alternate with sitting back against the support of the office chair to ease the work of back muscles.
3. Get up and move
As muscles tire, slouching, slumping, and other poor postures become more likely; this in turn puts extra pressure on the neck and back. [T]o maintain a relaxed yet supported posture, change positions frequently [getting up] to stretch, stand, or walk.
4. Use posture-friendly props and ergonomic office chairs when sitting
Footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a towel or small pillow can be used while sitting in an office chair, on soft furniture and while driving.
Using purses, bags, and backpacks that are designed to minimize back strain can also influence good posture.
Proper corrective eyewear, positioning computer screens to your natural, resting eye position can also help to avoid leaning or straining the neck with the head tilted forward.
5. Increase awareness of posture and ergonomics in everyday settings
Becoming aware of posture and ergonomics at work, at home, and at play is a vital step towards instilling good posture and ergonomic techniques. This includes making conscious connections between episodes of back pain and specific situations where poor posture or ergonomics may be the root cause of the pain.
6. Use exercise to help prevent injury and promote good posture
Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, or bicycling will help the body stay aerobically conditioned, while specific strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding the back to stay strong. These benefits of exercise promote good posture, which will, in turn, further help to condition muscles and prevent injury.
7. Wear supportive footwear when standing
Avoid regularly wearing high-heeled shoes, which can affect the body’s center of gravity and induce compensatory alignment of the entire body, thus negatively affecting back support and posture.
8. Remember good posture and ergonomics when in motion
Simply walking, lifting heavy materials, holding a telephone, and typing are all moving activities that require attention to ergonomics and posture. It is important to maintain good posture even while moving to avoid injury, walking tall with shoulders back for example.
9. Create ergonomic physical environments and workspaces, such as sitting in an office chair at a computer
It does require a small investment of time to personalize the workspace, home, and car, but the payoff will be well worth it. Undue strain will be placed on the structures of the spine unless the office chair, desk, keyboard, and computer screen, etc. are correctly positioned.
10. Avoid overprotecting posture
Remember that it is important to maintain an overall relaxed posture. Avoid restricting movements by clenching muscles or adopting an unnatural, stiff posture. For individuals who already have some back or neck pain, it's a natural tendency to limit movements to avoid provoking increased pain.
For more details, please check out Andrews’ full article provided in the References section.
Andrews, K. (2013, Dec. 4). Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics. Veritas Health. https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/ten-tips-improving-posture-and-ergonomics