Here is some advice for keeping your body balanced and pain free if you’re working from home or in the office.
The image above shows you an ‘ideal’ home workstation setup. The key pointers are:
- Screen approximately at eye level
- Shoulders relaxed
- External keyboard and mouse
- 90 degree angle at elbow and knee
- Pelvis rolled forward gently to put a small arch in lower back
- Feet flat on floor (use foot stand if your feet can’t reach the floor)
For a standing desk setup all of the above principles apply except for rolling your pelvis forward and of course maintaining a 90 degree angle at your knee.
Do I sit like this all the time when I work? Of course not, I’m not a machine! Sometime I lean forward, sometimes back and sometimes I cross my legs.
Remember your body needs variety.
Having a variety of positions helps keep the muscles of your body in balance and reduces the chances of you feeling stiffness and pain.
With this in mind:
- Every few days change this ideal setup a little. For example, raise the chair height if it’s adjustable or sit on a cushion, change the height of the screen or move it a bit to the left, move where the mouse is a little or swap hands etc.
- If you’re using a laptop, adopt a range of positions. For example, place it on a cabinet or counter so you can use it while standing, or put it on your coffee table so you can use it while sitting on the floor. Be creative.
- Sitting on the sofa with your laptop is ok now and then but definitely not the majority of the time because it encourages you to slump while you sit.
Listen to your body! When you feel a little stiff (or ideally before that) change to a different position. Mix things up and avoid sameness.
What I think is equally, if not more important, is the body you bring to this setup.
If your body and posture are balanced, you’ll cope with the demands of sitting at a desk better than someone whose posture is not very balanced.
You don’t need an expensive chair, you need a body with balance.
If you’d like to learn how to improve this balance my free newsletter can help. Sign up by clicking here and I’ll send you two posture correction exercises to help.
Ameet Bhakta BSc, DipHE – I’m a posture correction specialist certified by the Egoscue Institute, and founder of Health Through Posture based in London and Tunbridge Wells.