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What is Ergonomics?

"Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among human and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance"  - International Ergonomics Association Executive Council, August 2000

So basically, ergonomics is the understanding of the human body in its working environment. It is important to note that ergonomics is fitting the workplace to the worker and not the other way around. 


When evaluating ergonomics, we look at three main factors: 

1. Managing forces - i.e the force required to complete a task 

2. Maintaining proper posture - i.e identifying any awkward or static postures adopted in completing a task 

3. Excessive repetitive motion - i.e the repetitiveness of a task 

If any of these stressors or a combination thereof are present, the body may be at increased risk of pain or discomfort. It is important to create and maintain a healthy and safe working environment. A recent study found that "8 in 10 office workers spend between four and nine hours a day sitting at their desks - equating to around 67 sedentary days per worker annually." So, since we're spending the majority of our day sitting at a desk, we need to make sure our environment is supporting us. 


Here are some basic desk tips: 

- Chair - Choose a chair that supports the spine's natural curves and is adjustable. Your feet should rest flat on the ground or on a footrest and your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Your arms should rest gently on your armrests with relaxed shoulders. 

- Keep your frequently used objects close to the body to avoid reaching. Stand up if something is out of reach. 

- Keyboard and mouse - your elbows should be at around 90 to 120 degrees, with your wrists resting flat on your desk and your upper arms close to the body. Keep your mouse and keyboard within close reach. 

- Desk - keep the space underneath your desk free for your legs. Your elbows should rest comfortably on your desk. 

- Monitor - your monitor should be directly in front of you and about an arm's length away. The top of your screen should be at eye level. Elevate your monitor if necessary with sturdy books or a desk stand. 

As Biokineticists we are able to assist in ergonomics, postural corrections and everyday movement tasks to complement your routine and guide you to an injury-free lifestyle. Remember, prevention is better than treatment. 

https://ehs.unc.edu/workplace-safety/ergonomics/

https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/staff-spend-67-sedentary-working-days/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169#:~:text=Under%20the%20desk%2C%20make%20sure,support%20your%20feet%20as%20needed.