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Home Ergonomics 101


Whether you’re at your office desk or at a home office, making sure you pay attention to your body position and strain on your muscles is important. Below is a list of common strain points and the proper positions and tips to alleviate the stress from head to toe.

Stretch – Your muscles can get tired when you sit, which may lead to other problems over time. Try to take a 1- to 2-minute break every 20 to 30 minutes that you’re at your desk. Stand and stretch.

Lighting – Natural light will help you see your work better. To reduce glare, set up your workspace to the side of a window instead of having it in front of or behind you.

Eye health (20-20-20) – Place your screen on a surface that’s arm’s length away and eye level. If you wear bifocals, your screen will be the easiest to view if you lower it by 1 to 2 inches. Staring at your computer for too long can hurt your eyes. For every 20 minutes that you look at your screen, take 20 seconds to stare at something else about 20 feet away.

Keyboard position – When typing or using a mouse, your wrists should be straight, your elbows close to your body, and your hands even with your elbows or slightly lower.

Wrist cushion – If your wrists press against the edge of your work surface too much, the tissue to these areas gets squeezed, blood flow can slow. To stave off problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, use a wrist rest. You can also pad the hard edges of your desk or table with a folded washcloth.

Back support – If you use a hard-backed chair, choose one that lets your knees stay level with your hips. Pad it with a seat cushion and place a rolled-up towel behind your lower back.

Legroom – Sitting in front of drawers or cabinets can keep you from getting as close to your computer as you should.

Foot support – One trick to getting your posture right: Keep your feet flat on the floor. If the chair you use doesn’t allow that to happen, use a footrest.

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