Desk Job Driving Health Down Wrong Road
The most dangerous part of your workday might surprise you. It’s not the drive, or the occasional unhealthy meal on the go. If you’re like most Americans, your desk job could be doing you in. Regular computer users perform 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes each day, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). This could lead to poor posture, repetition and forceful exertions that can cause nerve, muscle, tendon or even ligament damage.
To avoid nagging injuries due to repetitive computer use, follow these prevention tips from AAOS:
- Use a properly set-up workstation.
- Use correct posture including keyboard and pointing device techniques.
- Take frequent rest breaks.
You might be wondering what a “proper work station” looks like. Experts suggest your office should fit your body. The more you can avoid sitting or standing in awkward positions, the better chance you have of avoiding musculoskeletal injuries. If your office chair is the wrong height for your desk or does not properly support your back, it can lead to problems.
As for the work surface itself, a general rule is to have the desk at elbow level when sitting and to allow at least two inches of clearance below the desk for your legs.
According to AAOS, when positioned properly at your desk and keyboard:
- Your elbows stay near your body in an open angle allowing circulation to the lower arms and hands.
- Your arms are nearly perpendicular to the floor.
- Your wrists are nearly straight.
Although most people might overlook such details, these steps can help you stay healthy over time. You should also make the best use of your rest breaks. Stretch your arms, neck and head periodically throughout the day and remember, these tips don’t just apply from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – they are also helpful when surfing the Internet at home.
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