3 Easy Ergonomics Ways to Avoid Various Strains & Pains

When I started on my freelance business in 2013, I foresee that I would probably be sitting at my desk for a fair bit of time creating designs. As I set up my home office, I want to make sure I am sitting right and not jeopardising my corrected posture. Last thing I want is taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back in my effort to maintain a good spine structure. Sometimes a simple solution can be the trick to solve the world’s complex issue. All you have to do is accommodate some minor lifestyle changes. Here are the 3 easy ways you could do to avoid various strains and pains:

Take Your Short Breaks

Take a Short Break and Relax

Ever heard of this saying lately, “Sitting is the new smoking”? When Dr. James Levine, inventor of the treadmill desk, compares sitting to smoking, you know it is serious time to sit up and listen. The Los Angeles Times quoted him “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death” This is why we need to take short breaks throughout a work day and we can let technology to remind us to do so. Incorporating ergonomic apps into our daily routine could ensure we stick to our plan and make our resolutions more attainable:

ErgonomicsExclusively on iOS; Official Website
Developer: Stand Up Apps, Inc.

ergo@WSH – Download on Android | iOS; Official Website
Developer: Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute, Singapore under the umbrella of Ministry of Manpower

Do Your Roadwork

Sports Running

I noticed that exercising before starting work helps in decreasing sleepiness and kickstart the energy. You do not need a vigorous workout at the gym. In fact, a simple 30min walk around your neighbourhood gets the blood circulation up, the mind awake, and the lungs and heart pumping more than if we were to head straight for the chair. Walking also releases endorphins, which relieves stress and reduces pain. It works for me and I feel refresh for the entire day, even if I slept 6 hours on the night before (6 hours of sleep does not work for everyone and it certainly is not for me. I am still working at squeezing in more sleep).

Change the Way You Work

As I work on a laptop (as many people do these days), having the head bending down for 8 to 12 hours a day is going to create the forward head and slouching posture if I am not self-conscious of correcting it.

Adjustable Laptop Stand

Home Office
Stand put into use at my home office

So I elevated the laptop up to the eye level with a stand. If you are in the US, you could get this adjustable laptop stand from Amazon.com. I bought mine from Taobao (淘宝 the Chinese eBay where you can get almost anything imaginable) to save on freight charges. Due to the proximity, it is cheaper to ship from China to Singapore than from the US to Singapore.

Using: 名堂笔记本床桌 (Ming Tang Laptop Tables/Stands)

Keyboard

As the laptop is elevated now, the next thing would be getting a keyboard. I knew I wanted a wireless one so I do not have to manage with more wires. It is up to personal preference on what type of keyboard you want to get.

Using: Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800

TrackBall

One reason I place the trackball mouse on my list for revamp is because I do not like the scroll mouse, which sometimes causes my fingers to cramp. While using it, I will also unconsciously move the mouse further away from its original position on the desk and this unnatural position creates tension in the entire limb – wrist, arm and shoulder. I rather have something stationary and the trackball mouse is perfect. By having your wrist and arm not moving and only using your thumb to direct the mouse cursor on the screen, the trackball mouse reduces the chances of injuries happening. It does not take long for me to be comfortable with it. Regular cleaning the ball and the place that holds the ball is essential to get rid of surface oil buildup and you can maintain the mouse’s performance.

Using: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball

BackJoy

Some people affirm to its use. However I don’t have much success with BackJoy because it is not as comfortable for my backside as I would think. As I did not use frequently, the last I heard from my mom was she threw it away (there goes my SGD60). Since there are some who definitely have reaped some benefits, I thought I introduced it here for the consideration of those who have not tried it.

On a side note: Tokyu Hands at the Orchard Central in Singapore stocks a Japanese version similar to BackJoy. It is much wider to hold the butt comfortably and has a higher lumbar backrest but it is at twice the price at SGD120. Tokyu Hands also has other interesting products to help back pain and poor posture. I’ll definitely head back there again to do a store and/or product reviews.

Tokyu Hands’ Official Website: Singapore | Japan