Health tip: How to practice proper ergonomics while working from home

Utica College Physical Therapy Professor, Dr. Ahmed Radwan gives advice on how to practice good posture in quarantine

Posted: May 14, 2020 6:06 PM
Updated: May 14, 2020 6:46 PM

Utica, NY - Poor posture can have detrimental effects on your back and neck overtime. While this happens often in the workplace, it's important now more than ever to practice proper ergonomics while working from home.

What is ergonomics in the work place?

"Ergonomics is a science that cares for minimizing physical and mental stress on workers so that we can minimize the risk of injuries," states Ahmed Radwan, Ph.D, D.P.T and Physical Therapy Professor at Utica College.

Appropriate ergonomics minimizes overloading your joints, relaxes your muscles, and minimize mental stress.

"You really have to make sure that you sit appropriately. That your back is nice and straight, you have a nice lumbar support in your chair, you have a good arm rests to rest your forearms on so that you unload your shoulders and neck and your monitor should be at your eye level and should not be farther than one arm length away from you. As much as you can keep anything you work with in close proximity to you," says Radwan.

As side from work, most people exhibit poor posture, unintentionally, when they are using their cell phone because it's in your hands, below your eye level.

"Unfortunately most of the users are the younger generation. When they get to the age of 40s and 50s, their joints and muscles will be suffering. The right thing to do, whatever technology you are using or social media you have to be aware of your posture as you use them," adds Radwan.

Dr. Radwan says you can lose up to 3 percent of muscle strength monthly if you minimize usual activities. To keep good practice while in quarantine, use this rule.

"The best thing is to follow the current ergonomics research guidelines. What I'd like to advertise is for every 20 minutes you spent setting you have to stand up for eight minutes and move around for two minutes. This is simply what I call the 20-8-2. If you follow that you are severely minimizing the risk of injuries and pains that comes with sitting."

In order to return to work pain-free you have to get moving. 

"My advice to people is to start right now, the endurance back again. Start walking, start doing simple exercising at home, anything will be helpful. My two advises for people returning to work a lot of preparation a lot of endurance so that we minimize the risk of pain and discomfort when we all return to full duty hopefully soon," says Radwan.

You can visit the Utica College Center for Ergonomics Analysis and Research here for more information from Dr. Radwan.

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