Feel Better Now with Ergonomic Equipment, Stretching and Good Posture
Does your back hurt at the end of a workday? Do you feel tired after sitting for long periods of time? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are the perfect candidate for an ergonomics overhaul. Here at the ChemSW blog, we are following National Safety Month and this week’s topic is Ergonomics. Ergonomics means setting up a work environment to fit the person; it means getting the job done with less pain; it means healthier, happier, more efficient employees. The top three ergonomic tips promoted by the CDC to avoid chronic pain and strains are healthy work tools, stretching at work and using proper posture.
Creating a productive work environment for happy, healthy employees is a challenge, but it can be done. Excellent office ergonomics includes healthy work tools, such as proper shoes to prevent slip and provide support, chairs with lumbar back support, ergonomic mouse and keyboard. For more resources, SafetyAwakenings.com is an open-source workplace safety website with a directory of over 8,000 safety resources, including free posters, videos, signs, forms, programs and policies.
Personally, I recently started using a standing desk because I was feeling lethargic after sitting for hours. I love my standing desk and I feel more energized at work. It helps having the computer at eye level and the keyboard and mouse at elbow level. Lab personnel will need comfortable personal protective equipment in the lab.
There’s only so much fancy work equipment we can buy. The next step is to find time in our days to move and stretch. Take it from someone who uses the computer for hours a day, I feel so much better when I take a few minutes to stretch my arms and legs. Then when I return to work, I am reenergized and alert. The esteemed Mayo Clinic has assembled a quick and easy guide to office stretches. They have several videos to help us loosen up the neck, arms, upper body and lower body. Here is a video of stretches we can practice right from our chair.
What if you could reduce back pain, improve your breathing, appear slimmer and seem more confident with one easy trick? Good posture is the answer, and the great news is, you can start immediately. Let’s give our joints a break and allow our spine to curve naturally to support our body. When we slouch, our knees, hips and shoulders work overtime to compensate! This translates to chronic pain in the back and joints, which sometimes turns into missed work. For those of you doing heavy lifting, you’ve heard 1,000 times to use proper posture when lifting to avoid back injury.
Sitting up straight will give your lungs and respiratory muscles, like your diaphragm for example, more room to expand. Deep breathing gives you the benefits of feeling more alert and thinking more clearly without a cappuccino!
Going through life with good posture changes the way other people perceive us. People who stand up straight appear more confident and in control, both at work and in personal life.
Maybe you already experience the benefits of having excellent posture, a regular stretching schedule, and good work equipment. But if you’re new to the good posture and stretching bandwagon, then it’s important to note that muscles may take some time to adjust, but the benefits will show up soon.
Here at ChemSW, we love safety, so please check out the rest of our blog for more safety tips this National Safety Month!