Six tips to reduce desk strain and pain

Our bodies aren’t designed to sit all day. That’s why office workers are frequently plagued by complaints of sore shoulders, leg discomfort, and neck pain.

Limit your desk strain with these 6 tips:

1.    Keep moving. Take a break every hour or so for a mini workout. Stand up and stretch, do some squats, or even a few pushups if your space allows. 

A NIOSH study found that regular, five-minute breaks throughout the day increased productivity while reducing sore eyes and upper body pain.

2.    Walk and talk. Get your coworkers in on the action and take those one-on-one meetings outside for a walk.

3.    Look away. Staring at a computer screen all day can strain your eyes. Some doctors recommend a 20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and refocus on an object in the distance for at least 20 seconds.

4.    Sit right. Adjust your desk chair so your feet can rest comfortably on the floor and your knees are about level with your hips. If your chair doesn’t offer lumbar support, place a cushion behind your back, or order an attachable lumbar cushion.

5.    Square it up. Your monitor should sit squarely in front of your chair, not off to the side. Position your monitor an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen just below eye level.

6.    Stand up. Try standing while you work. There are a variety of repositionable desks on the market that allow you to raise and lower your desk height throughout the day.

If you feel strain or discomfort at your desk, talk to your employer about ergonomic adjustments and alternatives. Chances are your employer will be receptive to small investments that improve your productivity and your health.