You know what really grinds my teeth?
Haven’t we heard it all before? Sit up straight, don’t slouch, tummy in, chest out…
I am a bit allergic to these statements because they are often so carelessly used and so generalised; they can really put you in a bad mood in no time! I am surprised that it wasn’t mentioned by John Cleese in ‘how to irritate people’… It means that we feel rubbish every time we sit down and notice that we are staring at our screen again like a meercat looking at a snake
Please don’t get me wrong – I do have a little bit of a beef with those that work from home and only work on their laptops. Even now, as I am writing I am getting a pain in the neck. If you know that you will be working from home for the next few months, please do get an extra screen to change the angle of view and with it a height adjustable screen mount. They vary in cost but range generally from £30-130 and from temporary to permanently installable. It is worth every penny especially as you will likely end up working there not just for months but much longer.
The science behind ergonomic set ups is simply that the suggested pose is the best if sitting for longer periods of time. The only trouble with ergonomics is that it uses a standardised anatomy as the base of its theories, which unfortunately doesn’t work for everyone.
In my view, the problem is not how much we slouch but rather the lengths of time we spend in one position. I understand that tall people will have to look down in order to be able to look other people in the eye, and that little people have to look up. I acknowledge that there are better ways of sitting, and that physics dictates that the pull on the muscles in the back of the neck will have to pull multiple times more when leaning forward
My main point is that we simply need to move more. If that is not possible at work, we have to make time after. Our body supports us as much as possible and tries to save as much energy doing it; which is why muscles tighten and shorten ligaments become thicker and can even turn to bone if necessary. If we don’t do anything to counterbalance this, we will get the bill for it in the end.
So instead of irritating you by telling you to sit up and stand straight – there is a very simple solution – I will choose to tell you to do more exercise!