Make Your Work Habits Work for You

The musculoskeletal matrix in which we reside needs balance and movement for wellness. Repetitive movement stores energy in patterns specific to the task involved. These energy patterns improve efficiency, accuracy of motion, and allow us to multi-task. However, these patterns can limit movement if they are not balanced by opposing musculature.

Muscles operate best at an ideal muscle length: Too short, increased tension occurs. Too long, the muscle becomes inhibited and weak.

Work: “Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something” (Webster’s Dictionary). Often, while we are actively working, we are sedentary.

Habits: “Acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary” (Webster’s Dictionary). Our habits begin as intentional strategies for a specific purpose, and often become an unconscious part of our behavior. Despite this, habits can be modified.

Ideal Ergonomics in sitting:

  • Both feet on the floor
  • Pelvis neutral and equal
  • Head (ears) over shoulders
  • Shoulders and pelvis aligned
  • Eyes central
  • Shoulders relaxed
  • Arm’s length from screen
  • Elbows at the side
  • Give your eyes a break by looking at distant object at times
  • Consider vision correction specific for computer
  • Keep your visual references central

Consider the joints involved, and maintain functionally neutral alignment

Back protection/body mechanics:

  • Move from center for any reaching or lifting
  • Lunge or step-to for reaching
  • Pivot to turn
  • Keep shoulders and pelvis aligned (like headlights)
  • Let your arms be an extension of center as you reach

General principles of finding balance at work:

  • Interrupt long periods of sustained position with movement
  • Alternate tasks using different muscle groups
  • Stretch what gets used … strengthen what doesn’t

Additional tips:

  • Stay well hydrated
  • Excellent nutrition (High protein base, with small healthy snacks to maintain even blood sugar)
  • Make quiet time a priority to check in with self
  • Wellness requires maintenance

Make your self-care non-negotiable