Event review: Posture for editors

by Tiffinie Green

Review of Posture for Editors presentation by RMT Luca Pellanda at the EAC-BC branch meeting on February 19, 2014.

I spend hours at my desk. I bet you do too. And when I’m not at my desk, I’m usually still sitting and reading. Generally, my neck and shoulders are tight and sore and really tense, so I was highly motivated to attend the EAC-BC chapter meeting in February as the topic was about posture for editors.

Luca Pellanda spoke with the group about our need to integrate better posture, activity and rest into our daily lives. Luca is a registered massage therapist and has the privilege of being married to an editor, so he is quite familiar with our “high-risk lifestyle” and the damage we inflict on ourselves.

Luca introduced us to the health triangle. The three vertices are rest, nutrition, and mobility. Rest is the most important and the easiest for anyone of us to accomplish; however, it is the one we often struggle with the most. I love to rest, but I never think about doing that while I’m working but Luca and I spoke after the event and discussed many levels of resting, one of which was to simply shift your sitting position slightly after about 18 minutes.

Whether sitting, standing or moving around, our muscles are doing a great deal of work. If our posture is off, then our muscles do significantly more work to compensate. When standing in a proper stance, the human head weighs about 12 pounds. That is the weight that the spine and muscles must support to keep the head upright. If you let your head rotate forward just two inches, then the spine and muscles must support the equivalent of 32 pounds. And the loading on your body only gets worse if your head continues to move forward. That is why my neck is always killing me after spending any time on my smartphone.

Luca discussed several pointers for keeping good posture while at work. Make sure the items you need at hand are close to you, so that you are not reaching for the mouse or the keyboard. Position your monitor so that it approximately an arm’s length away and align the top of the monitor so that it’s at eye level or just below. You will not be able to maintain active sitting posture for an extended period of time. Your muscles will fatigue and you will start to lean forward. You will need to switch from an upright posture (active sitting) to a semi-reclined position, so lean back in your chair and extend your legs and you should be good to go for another 18 minutes or so. After that, get up and walk around a little.

Since the presentation I have been following Luca’s advice. I have definitely noticed an improvement in how I feel by the end of the day. Thank you Luca. I am glad I had the chance to attend your presentation.

The slide deck and audio from the presentation are available for download in the members’ only area of the EAC website. There are a number of excellent diagrams on workstation setup, body alignment and restful sleeping positions.

Tiffinie Green is a member of the EAC-BC branch.

Image source.

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