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Sitting 101: Desk Ergonomics

I consider myself an active person and am definitely happier strolling about than sitting, but I sit for a large portion of the day. I blog – how could I avoid a chair? Like most things, there's a technique to sitting. A well-designed workstation can help keep you pain free while you toil away during the day.

Here are a few things to consider about how and where you sit:

  • Adjust the height of your chair so your hips are between 90 and 120 degrees. If adjusting your chair means your feet no longer rest comfortably on the floor, use a foot rest.
  • Your keyboard should be in line or lower than your elbow joint. The open angle of the elbow will help reduce elbow, wrist, and shoulder pain.
  • Keep your wrists straight and never bend them up to type. I find a good wrist rest to be invaluable for maintaining correct wrist alignment. Check out these stretches for your wrists – they will help, too.
  • The top of your monitor should be at eye level. If it is too low you could be setting yourself up for neck pain. Put a book or two under the screen to raise it adequately.
  • You should sit with your back straight. Use a pillow if you need low back support. Do not lean forward because that will close you hip joint down and stress your low back and neck.

Don't forget to move around as much as you can during the day. Adding little walks throughout your workday is an effective way to relieve pressure you might feel on your bum and spine.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Barnes
chicchick chicchick 9 years
You just prompted me to put yet another riser on my monitor. I've been meaning to do it for months now since my neck pain has increased. Thanks for the tips!
dukegirl dukegirl 9 years
Reply to millarci: How about adjusting the height of your chair or putting something under the monitor to get it to eye level?
silly3 silly3 9 years
I really like the picture here - I might print it out and stick it right above my computer monitor, since I tend to start slumping during the day. Thanks Fit!
lauriegilbert lauriegilbert 9 years
I'd never heard the monitor one before but it makes great sense - now just to convince all of my coworkers. :)
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips!
millarci millarci 9 years
I have a 30" monitor at work and I can't push it back far enough to get it to eye level. Any suggestions?
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 9 years
Thanks for the tips! I have the most horrible posture when I'm sitting at my desk. I should really work on that.
dukegirl dukegirl 9 years
Great advice. Also good: Yoga for Computer Users, a book by Sandy Blaine. Taking a yoga break at work has never been so good!
stellarpi stellarpi 9 years
should a similar alignment be maintained if you sit on an exercise ball at your desk?
Stephen-E Stephen-E 9 years
I'm looking forward to someone building a good desk with integrated fitness capabilities, like a recumbent bike or treadmill.
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