In honor of Labor Day, let’s talk about work and pain.
Now, we are not saying that work can’t sometimes be a pain, from the smelly leftovers your office mate is eating at lunch to the endless meetings.
We want to focus on how your body functions at work.
Standing Tall: If you stand at work a lot because you are in manufacturing or in retail or construction jobs, you may not feel that you can control your physical environment as much as you can. The major thing you can control is your posture. Check your posture. Are your legs spread around shoulder width? Are your shoulders pulled back? These questions not only make you look leaner and stronger, they also protect your back and neck. Change your position every fifteen minutes and do take seated breaks or even if they are comfortable, do occasional lunges or squats.
The Desk Jobs: The major components of most people’s work areas are a chair, a desk and a computer. You may not be able to control how much the boss spends on these items or how they are configured, but as you gain some seniority, you may be able to agitate for some better benefits.
Evaluate your seated position:
- Does your chair give you sufficient support and padding?
- Is your chair the right height? Your hips and knees should make 90 degree angles. Although it can be cute for young, short women to dangle their legs from their desk chairs, it’s ultimately terrible for your legs and feet.
- Is your desk the right height? If you type at a keyboard, your elbows should be at 90 degree angles.
- Is your keyboard the right height? The majority of the screen should be right at eye level, directly in front of you.
Make Work Less of a Pain:
Bring a weight to work and stow it under your desk. Every once in a while, grab it and do 8 repetitions of bicep curls or tricep curls or your other favorite arm exercise. Ignore the stares of your coworkers or challenge them to do the same.
Sit down/stand up desks. If your boss is Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans, then nearly all of your employees have these wonders of ergonomics. With a push of a button, you can change the height of your desk and take a break from sitting for a while. As we looked around his busy office, we noticed that several people change their positions regularly. We also noticed a fair percentage of men and women tending to stand exclusively at the end of their day. Standing improves blood flow, burns a few more calories and prevents blood clots: all good things.
Wireless headsets are a great investment for those who spend a great deal of time on either a corded phone or cell phone. Women particularly tend to turn their necks to the side to hold the phone in place, which is a guarantor of future neck pain. A wireless headset not only frees you from neck pain but it also allows you to leave your desk while you talk, encouraging you to be less sedentary.
Work is part of life and takes up a lot of waking hours. Let’s resolve this Labor Day to treat our bodies as part of our work product, too.