Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Everyone Has An Angle. Is Yours Working for You?

By JC Lynne

Ergonomics. The process of designing environments, products, and systems to fit the people who use them. I've never given it much thought. Okay, not true. When the Beard and I were remodeling the kitchen, I gave it a lot of thought.

The kitchen work triangle is the unity of storage, washing, and cooking. Now that I'm thinking about it, I've given way too much thought to the kitchen and spent entirely too much time in it. 

As a teacher, I spent hours standing and writing in front of the classroom. I used a ball chair at my desk because as a Pilates and yoga instructor I know slouching is a problem for your body. Of course, I wasn't sitting at my desk for hours at a time.

Working in my easy chair and Fintan the Whipping Boy begging for all the pets.

Transitioning to writing full time meant working at home and armed with my laptop, I could vary my working positions at will. I worked outside, inside, on the bed, in the living room, at the kitchen table, and at my desk. This switcharoo allowed me to shift my posture on the reg.

Alas, my laptop succumbed to the darkness, and I found myself tethered to a desktop for the first time in years. 

My ball chair became woefully inadequate for the job.  

I moved to a desk chair and modified it with a yoga blanket and block to help me sit up straight. Except I never gave any thought to the ergonomics. The Beard uses a standing desk. He's plowed through multiple chairs, but he's a software engineer. His work environment is his desk.

Fun fact of the day: as you get older things begin to dry out. All of the things. What once served us without notice can now reach out to remind you it too is growing older. Insert my favorite expletive here. 

Frozen shoulder is something I've helped my yoga clients deal with over the years. It's a real and painful condition as I've come to find out personally. Yep, my shoulder capsule is drying out and my office ergonomics have aggravated the process. Have I mentioned my favorite expletive?

How many of us are actually doing this?

Turns out there are very specific guidelines to keep you from damaging your body. I just never paid them any mind because I was on the move for so long. I've always been a straight posture practitioner, but I was definitely not adhering to the rest of the rules.

Heed my warning, pay attention to the guidelines. 

Many of you have seen me in person, I'm short. I feel like I'm working in a bathtub. Oy! In addition to the 90-degree angle of the elbow, my physical therapist said never extend the arm beyond a tennis ball's width when reaching for or working with the mouse. Holy fuzzballs! 

I'm taking her seriously and while I'm not investing in a new desk or chair at the moment, you should see what the Beard has rigged up. No fancy fix for me.

Whether you spend thirty minutes at a time or a couple of hours (not recommended) at a time, do yourself a huge favor and bust out the measuring tape. 

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