When using a laptop, you won’t be in the perfect ergonomic situation, so I suggest alternating the things on the following list as you feel the need to move.
- Sit back in your chair so your back is supported from your pelvis to your shoulder blades.
- Make sure there’s a couple of inches between the backs of your knees and the front of the chair. If not, place a pillow behind your back.
- Place both feet flat on the floor either under, or forward of your knees, allowing your feet to move to new positions every now and then.
- Let your elbows fall down to your sides, naturally, when your hands are on the keyboard.
- If you use a chair with arms, make sure your elbows aren’t winged out to the side. This could cause irritation of the shoulder rotator cuff.
- Forearms should be parallel to the floor and your wrists should be as straight as possible.
- Place the monitor so the top is the height of your eyes or slightly lower. This causes your eyelids to cover more of your eyeballs, producing more lubrication. If you use bifocal or trifocal glasses, consider investing in computer glasses. Otherwise, lower your computer screen enough so you don’t have to tilt your chin upward to read.
- Move your monitor as far away from you as possible while still being able to read easily. You may want to zoom in on your work by hitting control or command and + simultaneously to allow more space between you and the computer.
- Lengthen the back of your neck by sliding the base of the skull, comfortably back. Your chin should be parallel to the floor or slightly down.
- If windows create glare on your screen, close the blinds.
- Adjust the brightness on your monitor until your eyes are comfortable.
According to research at Woodend Hospital in Scotland by Dr. Waseem Bashir, a musculoskeletal radiologist, the torso and legs should not be at 90 degrees of each other, but more like 135 degrees. This goes against what most experts suggest. Kneeling chairs may be worth looking into. Also, some people have happily replaced their office chair with a stability ball, enjoying the freedom to move their hips and strengthen their core at the same time. If you do this, make sure you buy the correct size for your height. Someone between 4 feet 11 inches and 5 feet 4 inches needs a 55-centimeter stability ball, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 11 inches, 65 centimeters, and 6 feet and taller, 75 centimeter. If you’re not used to sitting on a ball, make sure you start with your feet wide away from each other.
Remember that bodies are made to move. Prolonged sitting is hard on your muscles and joints, so get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. Set an alarm if that helps you remember. To get the blood circulating, walk around and move each body part. Turn and rotate your head to stretch the neck, circle the shoulders, stretch the arms long, twist and bend at the waistline, stretch the front of the hip where the leg meets the torso. Circle the hands and feet and stretch your fingers back. Don’t forget to stretch the muscles of your eyes by moving your eyes right, left, up, down and diagonal.
The number one thing to consider is comfort. If you’re not comfortable, change your position and notice how you feel. Don’t ever feel stuck in a position. Move around as you feel the need to, and stretch a lot. That’s what your body is supposed to do.