Office Ergonomics – Keep Moving!
Prolonged sitting and static postures in front of a computer will increase the risk of pain in the neck, shoulders, forearms and hands. To avoid pain and discomfort, it is important to vary the working position and exercise the muscles used when working in front of the computer screen.
The human body is not designed to sit still in the same position for long periods of time. In average, we sit still 9 hours each day (1). Therefore, we need to vary our working posture and get up and move as often as we can.
Studies have shown that working with keyboard/mouse for more than 4 hours per day increases the risk of neck pain, forearm/hand pain and shoulder pain. Distributing work periods and breaks throughout the day can have a positive impact on the development of pain (2).
Muscle pain and discomfort is often caused by sitting in locked postures and this can strain the muscles in the neck, back and shoulders. Tense muscles become sore. Targeted strength exercise can prevent future pain and discomfort. It also relieves muscle tension if you already are experiencing pain.
Regular short breaks from the PC also have a positive effect on other health parameters such as blood sugar and insulin levels (3).
6 useful ergonomic tips:
- Take microbreaks. Microbreaks are short, frequent breaks taken throughout the day.
- Vary your body positioning regularly. Don’t maintain the same posture or position for extended periods of time.
- Work standing up (if you have a height adjustable desk). Standing increases the calorie consumption and is beneficial to back, neck and shoulders muscles. Standing up also gives a positive load on the weight bearing joints such as hips, knees and ankles.
- Take the coffee break or other short breaks standing or walking
- Skip the elevator – take the stairs.
- Exercise regularly – strength training can prevent muscle pain and discomfort
Click here to complete a ergonomics self-assessment.
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