Image Source: / Mike Licht,

When working at your desk, do you always sit properly? Are your arms and legs positioned at the optimum angles to reduce back and arm strain?

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Is your chair at the right height and is your lower back supported?

Chances are you (or someone you know) pays little attention to proper ergonomics while working at your desk. Unfortunately, it’s your body that’s paying the ultimate price, even if you don’t notice the signs yet.

Sitting improperly can cause inflammation, joint stress, muscle strain and damage, and repetitive use injuries.

However, good ergonomics coupled with frequent 20 minute movement breaks, can reduce many of the negative side effects of office life.

How do you ensure good ergonomics?

Good posture is all about how you sit. The height of your chair, the way you place your feet, even the angle of your arms can all be working against you. Double check the way you sit to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made.

Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Similarly, your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Your wrists should be in line with your forearms and not bent at weird angles.

When sitting in your chair, you should sit slightly forward – enough so that you can fit three fingers width between you and the chair. You should be sitting up, not slouching, and your lower back should be supported.

Your desk must also be at the right height to ensure good posture, and should fall right at your belly button. Additionally, your monitor should be at eye level, or slightly below eye level to reduce neck strain.

But good posture is simply not enough. You must make sure you are active every hour, moving around for about 20 minutes.

One easy way to ensure this is to make your office conducive to movement – move the copier to the far side of the building, or even have “walking meetings”. Anything to encourage movement to help your body combat the fatigue of being a desk jockey all day.

By getting in the habit of practicing good posture and taking frequent movement breaks, you can drastically change the long term impact office life has on your body.

Want some more tips on sitting right? Here are some great resources:

What about you? Do you make it a habit to sit correctly when you work? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping you feel better while you work. Email: [email protected]. Website:

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