Go Ergo

Raise your “manus” (Latin for hand) if you are word nerd. I know “ego sum” (I am). If so, the etymology of the word “ergonomics” might interest you. It derives from two Greek words:

Ergon (work) + Nomos (natural law) = Ergonomics

Combined, these words etymologically form “ergonomics,” or the science of work and a person’s relationship to that work. With the help of Laura, who interestingly enough is a certified ergonomist, I decided to go ergo starting with switching to a standing desk.

After looking at several brands like Varidesk, I chose the FlexiSpot stand up desk converter because it rises directly up rather than at an angle, making it easier to position not only myself but my computers and my materials. (Note: FlexiSpot is easy to assemble and very stable, too.)

For three months now, I have been at my standing workstation writing five or more hours a day and could not be more jazzed about my situation.

Aside from the fact that I am no longer aggravating my SI from being seated for extended periods of time or experiencing neck pain from pitching my head forward, I am much more productive. This is due to proprioception, or the sense that lets us perceive the location, movement, and action of parts of the body and helps with venous return to the heart, lymphatic system and co-contractions of all trunk musculature.

To get even more in the ergonomic game, I set a timer and at the top of every hour and take a few minutes to move. This could mean filling my water bottle or something more energetic like taking a quick walk to the mailbox, doing body resistance work like holding plank pose for one minute, or stretching.

If you work from home, you too might want to go ergo, and you do not need to stand per se. Just follow this check list:

  • When seated, are my hips and knees in alignment?
  • Does my desk allow for my elbows and wrists to be in alignment?
  • Are my shoulders and spine perpendicular to the floor?
  • Are my wrists, hands and thighs parallel to the floor?
  • Is my neck upright versus bent down?
  • Is my head facing forward versus tilted or twisted?
  • Are my feet flat on the floor?
  • Does my chair offer lumbar (low back) support?
  • Does my seatpan fit properly? (Note: If your seat front presses against your knees, your seatpan is too long.)
  • Is my mouse or trackpad located within reaching distance and fit the size and shape of my hand?
  • Is my computer monitor glare-free, directly forward (not askew to the left or right of vision) and at eye level? (Note: You do not want to be gazing down or straining your neck.)
  • Are all accessories including document holders, writing utensils and the like within reaching distance?
  • Do I have a hands-free telephone option to prevent placing my neck in an awkward position?

Note: For my full-length article about Ergonomics, check out the October issue of Hilton Head Monthly.

Sending U Good “Q”—Laura and Becca

Hours We're always down to "Q-it up!"
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