Story by Amber Tyner
Employees who work in an office know all too well how much time they spend sitting in front of a computer screen throughout the day.
The majority of their eight-hour workday passes as they sit in a chair with little movement other than their fingers across a keyboard. But sitting for so long, especially with bad posture, can have negative effects on your health.
Dr. Walter Piekarczyk, chiropractor at Chiropractic Family Center in Gainesville, said that proper work posture is critical.
“Poor posture causes misalignment of the spine and fatigue in the muscles and increases stress on the spine,” he said. “People go home at the end of their day and they’re just totally wiped out as a result. Poor posture long term can definitely lead to poor health.” Piekarczyk offered advice to help avoid this.
“I’m a big fan of the standing desks,” he said. “One of the big things with the sitting posture is that most of our computer monitors are too low or people are working off a laptop that is sitting on a desk so they end up hunching forward and end up having neck pain and lower back pain.”
A standing desk could solve that problem.
“When people have the stand-up desks, they’re up at a point where their computer is a little bit higher and their keyboard is at a good level,” he said. “It keeps them from slouching.”
Another trend to try is a yoga ball.
“We have some people (who) have used the fit ball, the Swiss ball,” he said. “And that’s a good way for them to sit because you have to sit up straight for the most part. And also every time they try to move, the ball will shift and of course that causes the muscles to have to contract and fire, which helps to build core stabilization.”
But if you can’t convert your worktable to a standing desk or bring a big yoga ball to the office, Piekarczyk said there are some things you can do to better your posture while sitting in a chair.
“One of the big things of course is to make sure (your) workstation is set up comfortably so that you are in a neutral posture,” he said.
He also recommended getting a lumbar cushion.
“A tip that we give a lot of our members who sit at a desk is to have a lumbar cushion behind their back that puts pressure into the lower back,” he said. “It reminds them to make sure they’re sitting up straight.”
And even though you’re at work, try to be a little active.
“Get up and walk around at regular intervals (and) stretch,” Piekarczyk said. “Don’t sit for hours and hours without moving.”