ErgoAdvocate & Ergoweb will be at the National Ergo conference in Las Vegas Nov 30 — Dec 2, 2011. Come see us in the Expo if you can attend! gene
A recent ergonomics study shows a strong association between body weight and work-related discomfort and stress. Body Mass Index (BMI) in the “overweight” category is strongly associated with increased musculoskeletal discomfort and occupational stress, according to a research team from India. This study adds more evidence to the body of knowledge that shows excess weight increase costs and the risk of injury. Overweight Americans spend 14% more and obese Americans spend 37% more on medical costs.
We need to look at ergonomics and wellness to impact quality of life, personal health, and injury prevention.
See my research summary published at Ergoweb.com
Be well and do good work! Gene
ErgoAdvocate is pleased to announce it has entered an exclusive distributor agreement with Ergoweb, Inc., one of the largest and most established providers of on-line ergonomics services and information.
Ergoweb.com was developed in 1995 as a partnership with the University of Utah and has grown to become one of the most trusted sources for ergonomics training, products, and information. Businesses and practitioners wishing to use ErgoAdvocate can now subscribe through Ergoweb. Visit www.ergoweb.com to learn more in the coming weeks.
I am hosting a seminar on Office Inactivity & Sitting Disease. Come network with other Health & Safety professionals from the Minneapolis area and see how too much TV & computer time shortens your life and increases the risk for Metabolic Syndrome. Learn why jogging an hour a day won’t help as much as some other simple prevention tips. We will also show a number of sit-stand desk options ranging from a simple cardboard box to an electric height-adjustable desk. Thursday Sept 15, 11:30am, CSI Ergonomics Minnetonka MN. Please RSVP
Conventional wisdom tells us to sit up straight, but this is not what the research (and many people with back pain) tells us. Sitting upright with a 90-90-90 posture (90 degree angle at ankles, knees, and hips) is hard on the back. Sitting straight upright like this causes the pelvis to rotate back and leads to tension and flattening in the low back. This flattening of the spine in the low back significantly increases lumbar disc pressure.
Instead of sitting bolt upright with a 90 degree thigh/hip/spine angle one should recline slightly so the hip angle opens up and some of the upper body weight is transferred to the back cushion. Alternatively, if you prefer to sit upright, raise the chair and tilt the seat pan forward/ down in front so the thighs are declined. Opening the hip angle with declined thighs, or reclining against the back cushion reduces low back tension and strain. See www.office-ergo.com for more facts about backs.
I just returned from a Stand Up Summit hosted by the furniture & accessories manufacturer Ergotron. James Levine from Mayo Clinic and representatives from the U of MN, American Heart, and others attended and discussed the scientific evidence on the negative effects of too much sitting (I’m standing as I type this post). We shared ideas on how to get the word out and possible research efforts for future study. Here is a good resource to learn more: www.juststand.org
If you have read my posts before you may know I am a big advocate for Ergonomics AND Physical Activity. A recent study involving 198 computer-users with freq neck & shoulder pain found that 2-mins of arm exercises offered considerable relief.
Participants used elastic tubing and performed 2 minutes of lateral raise exercises where they lifted the arms out from the side stopping at a horizontal position at shoulder-height. Interestingly, a similar 12-minute routine didn’t help much more than a consistent 2-min session!
The article also notes the importance of proper placing the monitor eye level or lower.
Ease office neck pain with two minutes of daily exercise
Air traffic controllers and lack of sleep has been in the news recently. It turns out that many of us also suffer from sleep deprivation. The National Sleep Foundation reports that the average American gets 6.9 hours of sleep most weeknights. New research highlighted in a recent NY Times article shows that this is not enough.
Lack of sleep has been associated with increased stress hormones, weight gain, and host of physical ailments including; achy muscles, depression, headaches, increased blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain.
This new summary shows that what many of us consider to be adequate sleep is actually insufficient and affects cognitive function causing delayed responses, errors and re-work such as having to read a passage several times.
8 or 9 hours of sleep allowed test subjects to maintain high psychomotor performance over the two-week test period. 7 hour sleepers showed a decrease in performance that stabilized after a few days and then held steady.
Those who slept 6 hours or less showed steady declines in recognizing and responding to the test stimulus. Their performance decreased over the two-week period and ended up with their thinking as impaired as a legally drunk person. A number of the 4 hour test subjects couldn’t even stay awake while performing the computer testing.
For your health and performance make sure you turn off the tube and get enough sleep!
Here is the link to NY Times How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With?
Eye strain/ neck pain? Your monitor is probably too high! 60-70% of all users report these problems, and not surprisingly, most have the monitor too high. The visual system works best in the “normal reading position” or chest-height as we’ve done for thousands of years. With the advent of the PC in the 1980′s we somehow moved our reading material up too high. Maybe it was the pictures depicting erect upright seated postures, maybe the big computer box took up so much desk space that the monitor had to go on top! See www.Office-ergo.com for more tips on healthy computing. Be well, gene.
Another large population study on 4700 people found that those who sat the most had more health problems and larger waistlines. This is similar to some other large studies posted on our sister web site www.Office-ergo.com – see the Sitting Disease link on top.
This new study is interesting in that they show by simply standing and moving you can offset many of the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. For example standing for as little as 1 minute can reactivate beneficial enzymes in the blood vessels and provides positive health benefits. We also know that frequent movement and posture changes are good for preventing (or treating) discomfort, and it is mentally refreshing as well. See the full on-line report at e Science News: Study finds more breaks from sitting are good for waistlines and hearts.