I have had so many patients inquiring about what they should be doing with their kids while they are sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day. Because I feel like there's so much information on this topic, I decided to write one more blog tailored specifically to kids who are sitting for extended periods of time doing schoolwork at home.
Now, this information applies to all of you adults who are working from home too, but for the sake of this article, this one's for the kids!
So we'll jump right into it, here are my tips for sitting efficiently over long periods of time:
I like chairs without a back because having a backrest promotes laziness! When you don't have a backrest, you can't rely on them. If your back starts to ache, guess what? It's time to stand up, move around and change positions. Your back hurting is its way of telling you that you have been doing the same thing for too long.
Kneeling chairs are clutch and there are so many fun ways to sit on it. If you try to sit poorly on it, you'll fall forward face first into your keyboard. So it's a great tool to force good posture. You can find a kneeling chair on our website here.
But if you have a stool, our old intern Stephanie is demonstrating proper sitting posture in the images below!
Stephanie says "Hang Ten"
You can use your thumb and pinky finger to determine how far you need to tilt forward. Put your pinky finger in your belly button and lean forward until you are able to touch your thumb to the bottom of your sternum or breastbone. That's a quick simple trick for finding that proper alignment.
Now Stephanie is setting her shoulders
Let your arms fall comfortably down to your sides. Let them hang loosely just as they would if you were walking around. Now shrug your shoulders up as though you were trying to tap the bottom of your ear. You'll then turn your arms so the window of your elbows and your palms are facing out away from you. Last, drop your shoulders down. It's that easy to set your shoulders into the correct alignment. Don't try to roll your shoulders back or squeeze your shoulder blades. This is usually an overcorrection and will start straining your shoulders!
Tips for Proper Standing and Workstation Set Up
I believe one of the best products you can have for both sitting and standing with your
laptop is this MOFT laptop stand. It tilts your laptop so that your wrists are in a more neutral position. You can find the MOFT laptop stand here on our website, but anything you can do to tilt your laptop or keyboard makes a huge difference.
If you're the type of person who likes to use a wireless mouse and keyboard, I love this big grip mouse which is great for the intrinsic muscles in your hands.
Having a proper line of sight is also very important. If your screen is too high, you're constantly looking up. Alternatively, if it's too low, your chin will be too tucked. Both of these can set you up for different kinds of neck pain.
Stagger your stance so your feet are about shoulder-width apart. When we have a staggered stance, we move the stress away from the back, knees and feet and distribute it into the hips, hamstrings and core. It becomes a free ab workout when done correctly!
Adjust the height of your computer and keyboard so that your elbows have a nice bend. Set your shoulders just like Stephanie does in the pictures above. You can support your wrists with a hand towel if necessary. Be sure to tuck your chin to keep your neck in good alignment.
And there you have it! My best advice is to seek variety. Any of these positions is bad if you stay in it for too long. Switch it up. Stand for 45 minutes and then sit. Go on short breaks where you can walk around and do some stretches. Keep your receptors for awareness stimulated and this will lead to a happy and healthy body!
Remember, we heal smarter, not harder!
Dr. Justin C. Lin