by Robert B. Boyle, MPT, COO, Physical Therapist, December 19, 2016
Men often put their health at the bottom of their priority lists. With Father's Day this month, I encourage all men to think about your muscles and make small adjustments in your daily routines to avoid unnecessary strains, aches and injuries, especially in your workplace.
Ergonomics is the study of how one's physiologic, anatomical and mechanic dynamics affect your health at work. There are easy adjustments everyone can make to help improve their health during a 40-hour week.
If you work in an office setting, take the time to lay out your desk in a way that will not harm your body. Raise your computer monitor to eye level to avoid strain on your neck and shoulders. You should avoid moving your head in and out to read the screen. Find the best distance for your eye sight, but try to make certain that your computer monitor is at least two feet away.
For keyboard distance, it should be placed directly in front of you with your arms and hands hanging in relaxed and comfortable positions. Avoid having your palms rest on the edge of the keyboard by keeping your hands elevated as you type. This will reduce your risk of getting Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. If you use a mouse, make certain it is within comfortable reaching distance and on the same level as your keyboard.
Choose and adjust an office chair in which both of your feet rest upon the floor. Push your hips into the nook of the chair and make sure it properly supports your lower back.
If your work is more physical in nature and requires manual labor, you can avoid common back injuries by lifting heavy objects in the proper position. This includes centering over the object with your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly squatting, gripping the object with both hands and using your legs to lift it off of the floor. Keep your back straight at all times.
No matter what your job entails, be sure to take breaks from your daily routine. If you are at a desk, get up and stretch your arms, legs and back. If you are more physical at work, properly stretch before you start your work day. During the day, take appropriate breaks to rest your muscles.