Improving Posture at Your Work Station

Jackson Sayers, BSc (Kinesiology), discusses proper office posture.

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Jackson Sayers, BSc (Kinesiology), discusses proper office posture.
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Featuring Jackson Sayers, BSc., Kinesiologist, CEO HealthChoicesFirst.com

Duration: 5 minute, 12 seconds

My name is Jackson Sayers. I’m one of the partners in Health Choices. Health Choices is a solution-based website, today we’re shooting at Nicola Wealth Management as part of our Perfect Posture series: Perfect Posture at the Office.

We’re going to cover four main topics today: your chair options, your computer equipment options, isometrics, and common injuries that you might have at the office and how to deal with them.

When you’re working at the office you have several different options for chairs. I personally like the Swiss exercise ball. I’ve been on it for about 10 years, and I’ve found it to be a very effective tool when I’m sitting at the desk or working on the computer.

The biggest problem that we have is when we sit in a chair our hamstrings don’t work at all. And the thing that I like about the ball, probably the most important thing, is that it engages the hamstrings when you’re sitting, because it really gets us into a nice position in correlation to our legs and our pelvis.

It allows our hamstrings to work, and it allows us to get a nice square position between the hip and the knee. So right now when I’m sitting in this position my hamstrings are activated. That’s so important when we think about the muscle imbalance between the front and the back of our body.

The typical chair will only make the quadriceps engage and the hamstrings don’t work at all. And the nice thing about the ball is that your hamstrings are working when your quads are relaxed. It really allows you to stay in an upright position.

But most importantly, it makes you engage your legs. Your legs are the largest muscle group in the body and they really help support your torso. So, my recommendation is use the ball, work into it slowly and you’ll find it to be a very effective tool when you have to sit for long periods of time.

When you’re working at the office, you have three main equipment options that you have to consider. First off, it’s the height of the desk. Desks are made only one height particularly, and what we want to be thinking about is can we get a desk that can be more suited to our body?

I would typically like a desk maybe three or four inches above this, and that would be something I would like to do. And they do make desks out there that can elevate. The second option is the keyboard, the position of the keyboard in relation to your body.

And there are several options for keyboards: one on top of the desk, one under the desk, and whatever your height of your body in correlation to your desk is going to be the factor to determine where your keyboard should sit.

The third thing that we really want to be considering is our keyboard in relation to our monitor. What we really want to be thinking about is if I’m looking at this monitor and I’m looking at my head height, my head height’s going down like here. Where I’d really like that monitor is to be is up about six or seven inches so that I’m looking straight at it, so that my head and my shoulders can position themselves in a straight line.

If you think about it, if you put together the desk, the monitor and the keyboard, and you get them all right, then you’re not straining your skeletal system nearly as much as normal sitting. And that’s how we want to be thinking when we’re thinking about sitting at the desk.

Everybody knows that being sedentary is not good for the body, and sitting’s even worse. One of the biggest problems we have with sitting is that the hamstrings don’t work. And a real simple way to help your body stay active and get going again in a much quicker way is to fire up your muscles.

I like isometrics. It’s a simple non-moving muscle contraction that can really help you when you’re sitting at the desk. So don’t be afraid to fire up the legs, squeeze the hamstrings a bit, suck in your stomach and fire up your chest, and that will really help you when you get up, have your muscles work right into the walking stance again. So what that means is that, even when you’re sitting around the office not doing anything, you’ve still got your muscles being active.

One of the biggest problems parents are having these days is what they do with kids and their laptops. Laptops are really not very good for your posture, and what we want to be thinking about when we have that laptop is how do we get it elevated into a position that allows the child to be looking straight at the screen.

What I like to suggest people do is get a keyboard, get a mouse, and get your laptop up into a nice high position so that child can have good posture when they’re sitting. I don’t even mind the concept of the child being on a ball rather than a chair, because I think at the end of the day at least that’s going to get them moving and going get them active.

Make sure you get that kid into a position where their posture is going to be good when they’re on the computer. It’s not really a good excuse that it’s a laptop, you want to be thinking about it as a desk computer when you’re home and get it into that position.

Many of us have pre-existing injuries that we take with us to the office. Sitting in a chair can aggravate them a great deal. Low backs, shoulders, necks. And we really have to think about the injury when we get to the office. They have very little stamina in them typically, and when you get engrossed into a job and you’re thinking about a project you have a very easy tendency to forget about the injury.

Make sure you think about your posture position when you’re at work, and get up out of your chair or the ball every 30 minutes, do some light stretching, walk around, have some water. Injuries only have so much strength in them and you’ve got to be thinking about them. I’d like to thank Nicola Wealth Management for the use of their office, for our Perfect Posture series: Perfect Posture at the Office.

Presenter: Mr. Jackson Sayers, Kinesiologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Kinesiologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.