In recent years, ergonomics has become quite the buzzword. It seems that many offices around the world are interested in getting seating, keyboards, mouses and more that are more ergonomic and less stressful for the body to use. However, understanding why some of these items are considered ergonomic can be just as beneficial as using these “ergonomic” products themselves.
Ergonomics is important in all aspects of your daily life, not just while you’re at work. To help you better understand how your body should be interacting with the space and items around it, here are three areas of your life that can benefit from knowing the ergonomics you should be adhering to. By being more ergonomic in these three aspects, you will have less body pain and more energy in all areas of your life.
Ergonomics While Sleeping
Everyone has had the experience of waking up in the morning with a kink in their neck or a sore back or shoulder from sleeping in a strange position. To keep this from happening to you again, try to follow the simple principles of the ergonomics of sleep.
According to UCLA, the most ergonomically sound sleeping position is on your back. When sleeping on your back, ensure your mattress is firm enough to support you while also keeping pillows under your neck and knees for extra comfort. Sleeping on your side with one pillow supporting your neck and another pillow between your knees for proper spinal alignment is also an ergonomic way to rest. Stomach sleeping is the least ergonomic way to sleep. If you are a stomach sleeper, use a smaller pillow so your head can remain in a neutral position.
Ergonomics While Sitting
Many people in the workforce spend hours of their day sitting at desks or in front of computer screens. Because so much time is spent in these positions, knowing the right way for your body to be positioned will save you hours of back, neck, wrist and hand pain over the years.
Hannah Newman of Greatist.com shares that the ergonomics of sitting revolve around having good posture—which can be a struggle for many people. When in a chair, your shoulders should be back with your arms resting at a 90 degree angle. You should also keep your lower back supported by using a lumbar-supported chair or a pillow for comfort.
Keeping your feet firmly on the floor will help keep your spine in proper alignment as well. Also, to avoid having to bend or shift into uncomfortable positions, ensure all items you use frequently are in easy reaching distance. And remember, take a few minutes to stretch every hour or two.
Ergonomics While Standing
Standing for extended periods of time can be extremely hard on your body. To make sure you’re not getting stiff and sore too quickly, try to conform to standing ergonomics as often as possible. The Mayo Clinic states that good standing posture and ergonomics includes keeping your shoulders back and relaxed with your tummy pulled in for support, having your feet about hips distance apart with each foot taking on the same weight distribution, and allowing your arms to hang naturally at your sides.
To avoid many problems that others experience with body pains and joint issues, try to use these ergonomic tips as often as you can when sleeping, sitting and standing. Making these simple changes will make a huge difference in how your body feels after a normal day’s work.