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Sitting for long periods at work is a strain on the back
Most people spend a major portion of their working hours at their desks, where they remain motionless in a fixed, tense posture in front of their computers.
However, sitting for long periods is hard labor for our backs. For this reason, it’s hardly surprising that many office workers complain about pain in their backs or necks.
Healthy backs – societal developments
Sitting properly and ergonomic office furniture and equipment can help those with bad backs prevent back pain and once again perform their work free of pain.
Susanne Weber, coach/ergonomics advisor and physiotherapist at Dauphin HumanDesign® Group GmbH & Co. KG, shares sitting habits and lack of exercise in day-to-day office life and how that relates to pain.
Are you sitting properly? Rules for ergonomic sitting
In order to prevent back pain at work, the workplace must not only be furnished and equipped ergonomically, but a couple of rules for sitting ergonomically should be observed as well.
Our video will show you the ideal set up for your desk and chair.
- Adjust the height of your chair and your desk, so that your arms and legs are at right angles to each other. If the angles are less than 90°, you can develop circulatory disorders.
- Sit actively and dynamically. Avoid a static sitting posture. This will improve the circulation to the musculature and the intervertebral discs. It will also reduce the risk of muscular tension.
- Use all the seat of your chair. At least 60 percent of the area should support your thighs. Use the adjustment options on your chair as well.
- Sit upright and use the backrest. Make sure you don’t sit leaning forward. You should also avoid a rounded back.
- Use your chair’s armrests. By resting your arms on the armrests, you take the tension off your shoulder region and prevent muscular tension.
Tips from Susanne Weber, coach/ergonomics advisor and physiotherapist
- Observe the 60 – 30 – 10 rule: spend 60% of your time sitting, 30% standing and 10% moving around. I recommend you spend 15 minutes every hour standing at your workplace.
- Stand while you’re on the ‘phone or take the stairs instead of the elevator. A brief stroll during a lunch break not only clears the head, it also relaxes your back.
- Leave the car at home more often and ride your bike to work if within close proximity. If you use public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.
- Use a smart watch, to motivate yourself and better monitor your activity during the day. Check regularly how far you have walked during the day and set the watch to remind you to move around at regular intervals.
Use the time during the breaks to relax your back.
In the video, we’ll show you just how quickly and simply you can do this at your workplace.
Prolonged sitting is very stressful for the back. However, many people have to spend hours and hours sitting in front of the PC or at their desks. So we should sit dynamically to take the strain off our locomotive apparatus and thus prevent back pain.
This means changing the sitting position as often as possible.
Changing position constantly is a form of natural exercise for the back muscles. Regular movement also promotes the circulation to the muscles and increases the supply of nutrients to the intervertebral discs.
For dynamic sitting, we should ideally alternate between three sitting positions: leaning forward, then upright and then finally leaning back again.
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Physical exercise at work
Make the most of any opportunity you have for regular small exercise sessions throughout the day.
Susanne Weber, coach/ergonomics advisor and physiotherapist shows simple exercises for relaxing the back at work.