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Ergonomics in Day-to-Day Life: The Details You Didn't Know

05 June 2023

Awareness about ergonomics is on the rise. An increasing number of organizations are working actively towards making their workplaces ergonomics-friendly. However, that's about it. Most of the work that's being done around ergonomics is limited to workplaces. This is where we're wrong. Ergonomics aren't only limited to workplaces. Poor ergonomics can affect every aspect of your life!

Ergonomics is the science of creating an environment that promotes comfort, efficiency, and productivity. There are three types of ergonomics; cognitive, organizational, and physical. Cognitive ergonomics encompasses the mental aspect, organizational ergonomics covers the structures in the social-technical system, which include policies, processes, and structures in a workplace, and physical ergonomics is centered on the musculoskeletal disorders associated with workplace ergonomics. Understanding all the types of ergonomics is essential to ensure that you aren't putting yourself at any risk due to poor ergonomic conditions in your day-to-day life.

This blog post will help you understand why it is important to ensure ergonomics in your day-to-day life and also look at each aspect of your routine life in detail so that you know how important a part in your life ergonomics is without you knowing.

Importance of Ergonomics in Day-to-Day Life

When we say ergonomics in day-to-day life is critically important, we don't say it for anything. We've got plenty of reasons to believe that you've got to ensure an ergonomic environment at work and home.

Let's look at why ensuring ergonomics in daily life is so important.

Prevents Postural Strain

The first and most important reason you must ensure ergonomics is your daily life because it helps prevent postural strain. No matter what you do during the day, you're in a certain posture. If the environment is ergonomically poor, the chances that you'll be in an incorrect posture for several hours every day are very high. An incorrect posture strains your body, primarily the spine, which puts you at risk of posture-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Maintains Joint and Bone Alignment

Sitting or working in an incorrect posture for long stretches of hours every day puts strain on the muscles, bones, and joints. Persistent wrong posture and strain can disturb the alignment of bones and joints, and this puts you at a massive risk of injury. Good ergonomics promote a healthy posture which helps maintain joint and bone alignment.

Prevents Neck and Back Pain

Another way good ergonomics benefit you is by preventing neck and back pain. Good ergonomics promote good posture, which reduces the strain on the body, specifically on the back, neck, and shoulders. With that, the common complaints of back, neck, and shoulder pain are significantly reduced.

Prevents Fatigue

Poor ergonomics tend to make you uncomfortable and may even result in pain in different parts of your body. The result is physical and psychological fatigue that affects your productivity, efficiency, energy, and mood. However, good ergonomics prevent fatigue and ensure that you stay active and highly productive throughout the day!

Improves Circulation

When you're sitting in an incorrect posture for long hours, the blood starts to pool in your legs which causes painful swelling. The pooling of blood puts a load on the heart as the available blood that the heart has to pump to the rest of the body is lesser. However, good ergonomics ensure smooth and healthy blood flow throughout the body and ensure the heart isn't burdened.

Ergonomics in Day-to-Day Life in Detail

We don't realize that ergonomics is at play in everything we do. If we aren't mindful about ensuring good ergonomics in our day-to-day life, it won't be long before we start to experience the consequences – which aren't something you would want to experience.

Let's look at ergonomics in different areas of our life and see how they affect us and how we can improve them.

Ergonomics at Work

People spend most of their day sitting in their chairs at work. This is the reason why the primary focus is on workplace ergonomics. Now, if your job requires you to sit in front of your computer for several hours every day, you've got to ensure good workplace ergonomics. Sitting in an incorrect posture puts strain on the spine, neck, and shoulders and increases the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Not only this, repetitive movements like typing can put you at risk of repetitive strain injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

What you can do it improve workplace ergonomics is invest in ergonomic office furniture and equipment. Start with replacing your office desk and chair with ergonomic options. An ergonomic office desk allows you to adjust the desk's height to ensure it's at an appropriate height. If the desk is too high or too low for you, you'll have to sit in the wrong posture with your shoulders and neck stretched (in case of the desk is too high) or shoulders slumped and back curved (in case of the desk is too low).

Then comes the ergonomic office chair. The user can adjust the height of an ergonomic office chair to ensure their feet are placed flat on the floor (which is the ideal sitting posture, according to experts). The user can also adjust the seat depth according to their physique. These chairs have an adjustable, flexible backrest that provides superior back support. These features ensure optimal comfort at work.

Other ergonomic equipment options to improve workplace ergonomics include ergonomic keyboards and mouse that can help reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Apart from that, ensuring adequate lighting and correct workplace temperature will positively impact mental and psychological health.

Driving Ergonomics

How many times do you drive consciously, keeping in mind the driving ergonomics? Most people would say they never gave driving ergonomics a thought. People spend a lot of time driving, especially in cities with heavy traffic. This means if your driving posture isn't correct, you're at risk of numerous posture-related health conditions. If you often experience pain in the back after driving, know that it's the poor ergonomics that's causing it.

Correcting your posture while you're driving can significantly improve ergonomics and reduce the risk of posture-related health consequences like back pain. The ideal driving posture is when you're sitting upright with your back resting at the backrest and your head close to the seat's headrest. Your back should be straight at about a 90-degree angle. Your arms should be resting comfortably on the steering wheel at the positions of 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. This posture ensures adequate support to the back, neck, and arms while you drive.

Lifting Ergonomics

Lifting is a part of our daily lives. We lift objects at work and at home too. Did you know there was a right and wrong way to lift? Lifting in an incorrect posture can put you at risk of serious injuries. It doesn't matter whether you're lifting light or heavy weights, the risk of injury when lifting in the wrong posture is equally high. When lifting an object, always remember to keep your lower back straight. Don't bend your back to lift anything. Bend from your knees instead of bending from your waist. Once you've gripped the object, lift with your legs to keep the strain on the back to a minimum.

Helpful Tips to Ensure Good Ergonomics in Your Day-to-Day Life

As we said earlier, we don't realize we're doing something wrong until we experience the consequences. Below are some tips that'll help you ensure good ergonomics in your day-to-day life.

If you keep your wallet in the back pocket, know that it's causing an imbalance and affecting the symmetry. It creates an uneven surface when you sit and can result in back pain. Start keeping your wallet in your front pocket or a handbag.

If you carry a heavy handbag containing your laptop, water, bottle, and other essentials on your shoulders, you're highly likely to experience subluxation, which will result in neck and shoulder pain. Try not to carry heavy bags on your shoulders.

If you wear high heels very frequently for long hours, you need to stop. Wearing high heels results in an unnatural posture, and this can sprain the back and lead to postural complications and long-term pain.

Use an adjustable monitor mount of a mobile stand if you spend too much time looking at a computer or mobile screen to ensure the screens are at eye level and you don't have to tilt or bend your neck at awkward angles for too long.

Closing Word

Improving ergonomics in our day-to-day life isn't too difficult. All it takes is a little conscious effort to realize what you're doing wrong and how you can correct it. When you're able to address the risks around you, you won't be too far in achieving a sound ergonomic environment, both at work and home and wherever you go!