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Ergonomic discussions most often revolve around the
workplace. As we spend much of our waking day at our desks or in the field, our
work lives take the spotlight when it comes to focusing on whether our
environment is ergonomically suited to our needs. But work life is only one
piece of the overall puzzle when it comes to our health and the ergonomics that can assist us in living pain-free,
posture-supportive lifestyles
.

Fitness Fixes

Proper ergonomics is a huge part of ensuring every home
workout is injury-free. Weight-training injuries are especially common, and
proper ergonomics are essential to be mindful of while you pick up those free
weights in your garage.
Most importantly, proper form should be paramount when
lifting. Whether you’re trying to trim down or bulk up, it’s much more
important to keep proper form than it is to get in that extra rep. If you’re
using exercise equipment such as a stationary bike, an elliptical, or a
treadmill, be sure that it is adjusted properly for your body before you begin
your workout. This includes making sure you have adequate support from your
shoes.
Many exercises such as yoga allow for multiple modifications
to accommodate all levels of fitness. Be realistic with your workout goals and
make modifications where necessary to keep proper form without overstraining
your body.

Home Helpers

Proper ergonomics don’t have to get up and go once your
leave your work desk. Everything from body braces for pregnancy to the
furniture in your home has an ergonomic solution.
●     Zero
gravity recliners: Is that old
recliner of yours threadbare and uncomfortable? Originally developed by NASA,
the zero gravity recliner’s rise in popularity is due to its comfort and the
unique experience they provide their users. They mimic the position of
astronauts during take-off, and are designed to reduce stress on the body. Zero
gravity chairs and recliners impart a feeling of weightlessness, and the
ergonomic benefits include decreased pressure on the spine, reduced back pain,
reduced heart strain, and increased circulation, to name a few.
●     Pregnancy
Back Braces: Unfortunately for the expectant mother who is experiencing
discomfort, you can’t take a break from pregnancy. But a good, supportive back
brace can help relieve the discomfort and pain that accompanies those later
months. A brace specifically tailored for the expecting mother can help provide
support and ease the back pain that up to 50% of women experience while they
are with child.
●    
Massage chairs: After a long day at work,
there’s nothing better than a good, thorough massage. Massages can help relax
you mentally and physically, while improving overall circulation. But massages
do more than relax you. A good massage chair can work wonders for those aches,
pains, and strains that you may have built up during the day. Massages can
reduce the need for painkillers, improve symptoms of osteoarthritis, help you
get better sleep, reduce migraines, boost the immune system, reduce lactic acid
buildup, decrease swelling, and help lower high blood pressure.

Technology Tips

Technology has become such a large part of our lives that we
rarely think to look up from our devices and focus on our posture. Here are a
few tips to help keep you ergonomically positioned while you scroll, talk, and
type.
●     Use
a Bluetooth system while in the car. Not only does this prevent accidents and
keep your eyes on the road, but it also keep you from looking down at an
awkward angle or scrunching your shoulder and neck together to hold the phone
while you grip the wheel. 
●     Prevent
shoulder and neck strain by using earbuds or speakerphone while seated at
tables. Keep technology on the table at eye level instead of on your lap to
maintain a more ergonomic position that won’t have you crouching forward to
view your screen. The same goes for laptops—especially while you’re seated on a
couch.
●     Use
two hands when scrolling through screens on your smartphone or tablet to
prevent thumb and tendon strain.
●     Refrain
from texting while walking. Aside from keeping your neck in a neutral position,
it prevents embarrassing accidents such as trips, falls, and bumping into other
people.
●     Take
breaks every few minutes and take the time to stretch your hands, neck, and thumbs.
This gives your eyes a rest as well. 
●    
If you find yourself with neck or hand pain
related to your day to day technological activities, keeping a bottle of
Biofreeze nearby can provide some quick relief. This topical analgesic can help
alleviate short-term pain.

Sleep Savers

Sleeping should be a time of ultimate
comfort and relaxation. But many of us wake up in the morning, or even during
the night with aches and pains from improper sleeping positions.
●     Side Sleepers:  One of the most preferred ergonomic sleeping
positions is on your side. If you’re a side sleepers, bend your knees a bit and
put a pillow between your legs. This alleviates stress on your hips, knees, and
back, and keeps your body in comfortable alignment. It’s also important to
place a pillow under your head to keep your spine straight from head to
tailbone.
●     Back Sleepers: If you sleep on your
back, try putting a pillow under your knees. This helps maintain the natural
curve of your back. If you still experience lower back pain, try placing a
small pillow or rolled up towel under the small of your back for additional
support.
●    
Stomach
Sleepers:
As the least preferred position to sleep in, it is difficult to
keep your spine in a natural position, and sleeping in this position can
compress your nerves and strain your muscles. But many of us just can’t seem to
sleep any other way. If you can’t break the habit, try placing a pillow under
your pelvis to ease the strain this position places on your back.
Another important part of getting
a good night’s sleep is choosing the correct mattress. When selecting a
mattress, make sure that it is firm enough to provide support. If your mattress
is nearing the end of its lifespan (8-10 years) consider upgrading to a new,
good quality option that is specially designed for ergonomic comfort.

Suboptimal positioning and
discomfort can lead to aches, strains, stress, and injury. Proper ergonomics
can help relieve this stress and discomfort both at home and in the workplace.
Take a look around your home, and keep an eye on your sleeping position and the
manner in which you use your technology. There are often subtle ways in which
you can improve your ergonomic positioning that can result in a measurable
difference in the physical comfort of daily living.