Ergonomics at Home: Applying Best Practices to Life Outside the Office May 31 2017
While office ergonomics will always remain a pertinent aspect of living a daily healthy lifestyle while at work, it’s also worth considering these principles in practice in other areas of our lives. You spend a lot of time at the office, but you also spend a fair amount of time at home. So why not apply ergonomics to your home life? Musculoskeletal disorders and other discomforts as a result of poor posture are just as likely to occur in the home. Reassess the following areas of your home and think about whether they add to your ergonomic well being or if they’re less than ideal:
Bending over and kneeling for long periods of time can put considerable strain on your back and knees. In addition, applying pressure to the earth with tools works out your hands and wrists. If possible, wear kneepads during tasks where you find yourself kneeling for lower level work. As with holding any one position for an extended period of time, it’s always advisable to take breaks. Get up, stretch, and walk around every once in a while to give your knees or other muscles used a break. Look for tools that have “natural” or “pistol” grips to alleviate pressure points that occur during the use of tools.
The Family Room
The couch is the number one cause of poor posture in the home. Many couches do not provide the proper lumbar support for your back, or we don’t practice good posture when lounging at home. Considering the fact that the couch is the spot we tend to sit for the longest period of time when at home, it’s worth investing in a couch or other sitting furniture that provides the right support for your back.
Think about the different tools you use in the kitchen on a daily basis and whether they provide the right grip to ease the strain on your hands and wrists. Knives, scoops, or floor mops are good examples of items to consider. Do these tools make your job easier or do they cause you aches and pains after use? The use of floors mats is also advisable when standing for long periods of time.
When it comes to an ergonomically designed bedroom, the bed is the main focus. While many mattress companies will claim to give you the “best night’s sleep ever,” the truest way to get better sleep is to think ergonomically about your sleeping positions. You’ll spend less time tossing and turning if you optimize your sleeping position with items like an ergonomic pillow or leg spacer. If you tend to suffer from allergies, consider an air filter for your bedroom that will help you breathe easier while you sleep.
Workplace ergonomics will always have its place, but home ergonomics are just as important. You generally spend just as much time at home as you do at work, so don’t forget to apply ergonomic principles when designing your home or purchasing furniture.