Saturday, December 13, 2008

Safety Saturdays: How to sit!

Here are the features what a good computer chair should have:
-Height adjustable (we're not all the same height, after all);
-5 pronged base (for stability);
-Lumbar support (lower back support) that is height adjustable (meaning you can move the back of your chair up and down);
-Arm rests that are height adjustable.

Do you have all these features? Here are a couple of good (but possibly expensive) examples:

Ideally, the seat pan (where your bum sits) is not too small nor too big (think of Goldilocks!). What's too small? If the back of your legs aren't suppported by the seat, putting pressure on the back of your legs, it's too small. What's too big? If the back of your knees are pressed into the seat, it's too big.

Ideally, your lumbar support is height adjustable. Put the lumbar support so that it's in the small of your back. Don't have a lumbar support? Put a pillow or towel or something else into the small of your back to support it.

If you don't have these features, what can you do to improve your existing chair?

If your chair looks like this: there may not be much you can do. Try adding a pillow to support your lower back.

So, now matter what your chair looks like, try to consider your body positions. Here's "ideal" body positions:

The chair in these drawings is not ideal, but it's to show your body positions. And remember, no one position is ideal if you're staying in that position for many hours. Change your position slightly! And get up and move!

I type this from the couch, with my legs crossed. Though, I'm at least sitting back in the couch! Why is sitting back group? My back muscles don't get fatigued from sitting up for an extended period of time.


Jest said...

I mostly sit on the floor when I'm on my laptop. It's not too comfortable but I don't realize it until I stand up, for the most part.

Krista said...

Sitting on the floor can be hard on your back over time, but it's not totally horrible.
-If you sit with your back arched forward, your are in the optimal spot to reduce strain on your back muscles. However, it's hard on your spine. SOLUTION: get up and stretch now and then.
-If you sit up straight, your spine may be okay (if you maintain the "S" curve of your spine). However, it's very hard on your back muscles to sit like that (static muscle contraction). SOLUTION: make sure you maintain the "S" curve (don't sit up straight like a board) and stretch now and then.

The first solution is better, because maintaining an "S" curve can be difficult.

Either way, the best thing if you want to sit on the floor is to stretch now and then, get up, then go back to sitting on the floor! :)

AmyJean said...

I've got such shoulders/neck/arm probs from the computer... thanks for this!

Bella said...

I have HORRIBLE posture...I really do. I always try to make a conscious effort to correct it and always lost my attention towards it!

Krista said...

AmyJean: take frequent stretch breaks! It might help.
Bella: my mom used to poke me (well, push her fist into) the small of my back. My reaction (and most people's) is to stand up straight. I have decent posture because of her "poking" me! It wasn't painful, just awkward, and it was her intent to get me to stand up straight. After typing, I realized it sounds worse than it was!