Your desk and chair are better than the couch, but what if they’re uncomfortable?
First, we need to define uncomfortable. Are we talking uncomfortable in the sense of body twinges, unhelpful straining and stretching and a chair so hard your left butt cheek goes numb? Or are we talking ‘mentally’ uncomfortable – as in your couch would be waaaay better than this desk? If it’s the latter, then it’s time to buck up and understand how good your office desk and chair can be for you day to day. If it’s the former then it’s time to take control.
Body mechanics coordinator John Cinkay believes you can’t get away from back, neck and shoulder strain – and bigger musculoskeletal problems – without ‘owning’ your desk. Move things where they’re most comfortable, make sure the top of your monitor is at eye level (even if that means stacking it on phone books) and for the love of ergonomics, adjust your chair so your feet aren’t dangling above the floor. We suggest watching this short tutorial on how to arrange your desk to be ergonomically sound courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
If an adjustable chair isn’t an option, we direct you to this fabulous selection of desk chairs that will have your booty sitting pretty in no time: Show Anthony’s chairs x 3, with names below? Do we want to include price points? A piece of advice when purchasing a chair: The seat should have enough padding and the seat width, depth and height should suit your own, ah, width, depth and height. When sitting, your knees should be level with your hips says the Mayo Clinic, so bear this in mind when shopping.
But remember, part of sitting and ‘desking’ well also means understanding that we weren’t made to sit on our derrieres all day. Everything in moderation as they say. You need to get up from your desk – whether for a coffee or recreational break – at least every hour Cinkay says. If that isn’t an option, get some movement in. Certified yoga instructor Linda Steinberg provides six yoga poses you can do at your desk to alleviate built up muscular (and mental) tension. From shoulder rolls to neck stretches, you can explore these poses here.
The biggest problem with working on the couch is that you take these breaks on the couch too; working on a report transitions to a 20-minute Facebook break, transitions to carrying on with the report and your body never gets a break from what’s called ‘the cashew’ – shoulders curved over, butt curved under resulting in a rounded back. According to orthopaedic surgeon Nomi Khan, this rounded position “damages the little shock absorbers in the spine, called the intervertebral disks” which can cause – you read it at the beginning – disk degeneration. So take a proper break from sitting and better still, sit at a proper office desk and chair.