How To Stay Fit While You Sit

Ergonomics is the study of the problems that people have while functioning in their environment.

This guide may help you as far as reducing injuries associated with sitting at a computer.

The areas of concern for office workstation ergonomics are:

1.  Poor posture

2.  Reduced job satisfaction

3.  Reduced productivity and increased errors

4.  Muscular tightness in the neck, shoulders and between the shoulder blades

5.  Arm fatigue 

6.  Low back pain

7.  Eyestrain

8.  Headaches

9.  Repetitive strain injuries or cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.


1.  Try not to talk on the phone with the receiver pinched between the head and the shoulder.  Use a shoulder phone rest to reduce the severity of this repetitive trauma or use a headset.

2.  Use proper seating for keyboard operation including the following:

a.  Traditional working surface heights are 26 inches for keyboards and 29 inches for a working desk.  These heights are not good for everyone depending on their height.

b.  Stand facing the chair and adjust the sitting surface just below the bottom of the kneecaps.  The thighs should be parallel to the floor.

c.  Everything should be at right angles or 90 degrees.

d.  Armrests should be slightly below the level of the elbows while sitting in the upright position with the shoulders relaxed.

e.  Keyboard height should be 3-5 cm. below elbow height.

f.  The wrists should always be in the neutral position if working for extended periods, not flexed or extended.  Wrist supports or palm rests may be needed.  Watches or bracelets can cause problems if they are pressed to the wrist at the point of contact.

g.  Both feet should be flat on the floor.

h.  Slouching, leg crossing and sitting on ankles should be avoided.

i.  Do not stay still.  Get up 5 minutes every hour and walk around.  Take a break to get more work done by increasing your focus and concentration.

j.  Try to stare out a window at a far away object for about 10 seconds every 15 minutes or so when working at a monitor.  This will reduce eyestrain. 

k.  The monitor should be directly in front of you with the top of the monitor slightly below eye level.  A downward head tilt of 29 degrees is considered average.  The average distance of the monitor from your eyes is 31.5 inches for minimum eyestrain.  The monitor should be tilted to be perpendicular to your line of vision.

l.  Screen shields are useful for reducing eyestrain.

m.  If a copyholder is needed, it should be used next to the monitor.

n.  The light intensity should be 100-foot candles of full spectrum lighting for maximum efficiency and minimum eyestrain.  This is optimum for reading the
text on a monitor, keyboard recognition as well as for reading written or printed material.

3.  If reading off of the work surface, the reading material should be tilted upward from 20-45 degrees.

4.  Equipment and documents should be placed within arm’s reach without leaning to minimize biomechanical insult.

For more information:


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