Great Health Guide


- Kusal Goonewarde­na

Get up regularly from your work station for a couple of minutes

Work-related strain injuries are becoming more common. At Elite Akademy we are seeing more people suffer problems related to sedentary working lives. Many of these people develop problems from sitting too long in the one position, even with the correct set-up in place.

Ergonomic workstatio­ns may help, but these should be considered as a starting point for healthy habits to prevent workrelate­d issues such as sore backs, necks, repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Most common problems emerge from slouching in your seat, sitting with your body out of alignment or having your computer set-up misaligned.

To avoid work-related strain injuries, consider the following important issues:

1. Ensure your equipment is properly set up:

We found that 95% of students and staff we analysed at the University of Melbourne do not use their equipment properly – this includes their chair, desk, and computer screen. People have the latest chairs but are often not using them correctly.

2. Use your workplace equipment properly:

• Consider symmetry: everything to the left and right should be balanced. Even computer screens which are slightly off-centre mean extra muscles, joints and nerves are affected.

• Support to key areas: For example, elbows need the opportunit­y to rest, otherwise shoulders droop and cause upper spinal problems, leading to headaches and increased stress. Poor posture has been shown to increase levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. • Lower back and upper back support is important: One of the most overlooked situations, is having feet correctly placed on the ground or on foot pedals; dangling feet or feet resting on the wheels of chairs can cause increased pressure through the back, which causes imbalances and eventually pain.

• Correct height: Screens must be at eye level and keyboards at the correct height. If one or both of these are incorrect, you invite a whole range of strains including neck strains, arm strains, shoulder problems and headaches.

Solution 1: Always self-evaluate by taking photos of yourself – this is how elite athletes learn about their performanc­e. If it’s good for them it’s good for us. Once we see how we sit, by looking at a photo, we see how well or badly we are doing that activity. If a photo reveals poor seated posture, it inspires us to change that behaviour.

Solution 2: Use posture cues. Posture is a learned behaviour and we can fall into bad habits. Remind yourself to sit up straight every time you check your emails or check your phone. Over days and weeks, you’ll develop good habits and good posture will become second nature.

3. More movement/exercise at work:

The problem with our working lives is not so much sitting down or being in the one position, it is doing it for too long without breaks.

A recent study found not exercising is as bad for you as smoking. This study, undertaken by Cleveland Clinic researcher­s, is significan­t because it

subjected 122,007 patients to treadmill testing from 1991-2014 – a depth and breadth of research we don’t see too often. The research found that a sedentary lifestyle might come at a great cost. It consistent­ly found the more people exercise, the lower their mortality rates.

Solution 1: Aim to get up regularly – even if you are very busy there will be benefits from this for your body, which will in turn, help with your work. Set up some cues to get up every 45 minutes or so.

Solution 2: Incorporat­e some simple stretches and exercises into your day. For example, doing side bends and rotating shoulders left and right, like doing the ‘twist’, which gently rotates the spine. Another good exercise is standing up straight and lifting yourself onto your tippy toes for a few seconds at a time.

Solution 3: Stay active outside of your working life – incorporat­ing low, medium and high intensity exercises keeps you more resilient and flexible.

Key points:

• Work-related strain injuries are increasing.

• They can be addressed by considerin­g posture, alignment and regular physical activity.

Kusal Goonewarde­na is an experience­d physiother­apist, lecturer, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiother­apy students around the world. Kusal recently developed the App KINRGIZE, available at Google Play and the App store. He has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm. Kusal consults via his clinic, Elite Akademy.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia