This includes smart phones, tablets, computers and watching television. You may be surprised (or even horrified) that recent research had Australians averaging 10hrs and 19minutes per day!!
This time is split between work and play, and often people are using more then 1 screen at a time – for example, using a tablet whilst watching TV.
Concerns regarding this surround the fact that screen time is usually sedentary time (unless you are on the treadmill at the same time!!). So how can you spend this much time on electronic media without it impacting terribly on your body?
At Aushealth Physiotherapy we are highly aware of the increasing demands placed upon individuals across all ages to use electronic media and we know that the focus is only going to increase.
Whilst its easy to say “Just spend less time in front of a computer”, the reality is, that’s not going to happen! So, here are a few ergonomic guidelines to follow to make your screen time more comfortable, help you maximise your productivity and efficiency and help you stay healthy and fit in the digital age that drives us.
Ergonomic tips for the office or at home:
1. Always try to work at a desk with a good chair that is set up for you. 10 mins at the kitchen table is fine but avoid doing 2 hours of internet browsing there.
2. Pull your chair right into the desk/table – the further away from the table it is, the more likely you are to adopt poor posture.
3. Sit your bottom right into the back of the chair – it means the chair will support your spine better making it easier to sit well.
4.Your forearms should be gently resting on the desk – not leaning down to it or feeling like they are being pushed up into your ears. Adjust your chair height accordingly. Your keyboard and mouse should be within easy reach. If you are working on a laptop for a prolonged period, an external keyboard is a great idea.
5. Your feet should be flat on the ground – if you can’t reach the ground, you should use a little foot stool – you’ll be surprised at how much strain that takes out of your back.
6.I know what you are reading is interesting but avoid craning your neck forward to see it!! Keep your head above your shoulders by lengthening the back of your neck. This will take the strain off your neck muscles. If you can’t read what’s on the screen – maybe get your eyes checked.
7. Set the screen up so that the middle of it is at eye height.
8. Have everything set up directly in front of you to avoid having to turn to look at your screen or keyboard.
9. Talking on the phone with the receiver jammed between your shoulder and ear is terrible for your neck!! If prolonged phone time is required, get a headset.
10. Take regular breaks, just grab a glass of water or have a quick stretch every 30 mins.
Go through this checklist as you are sitting here now and see what you can do to improve your workstation ergonomics. This will help reduce headaches, neck pain, back pain and arm problems that can be caused by prolonged poor posture.
If you would like further information on this or if you are experiencing any discomfort at your workstation and would like more help, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the clinic.