According to the latest data (2014-2017) published by the Passi surveillance system of the National Institute of Health, the Italians lead sedentary lives. These data show that 1/3 of the Italians lead sedentary lives, especially in the South of Italy. Some regions, such as Basilicata (66%), Campania (49.7%) and Calabria (46. 1%) far exceed this percentage, thus increasing the difference between North and South. In the Emilia-Romagna Region, the percentage of physically inactive people is 22.7% and of physically active people is 35.8% (Source: http://www.epicentro.iss.it/passi/dati/attivita.asp)
Besides the negative consequences for health, such as overweight, obesity, the increase of the degenerative chronic diseases, heart diseases and diabetes, inactivity also leads to several physical problems, such as a backache, cervical pain, shoulders and legs and difficulty to rest correctly.
Nevertheless, if we can’t prevent sitting 8 hours per day at the desk, at least we can follow some simple precautions to try to minimise soreness, muscle pain and joint aches.
We asked our physiotherapist Maddalena Vassura to give us some advice on how to sit correctly at the desk.
- Carefully adjust the chair height
Although it might seem a banal advice, we all have different heights. The chair needs to be adjusted according to this parameter. In order to find the right chair’s height, it is necessary to stand in front of the chair so that the seat is just below the knee.
- Place the keyboard and the mouse in a proper position
Both the mouse and the keyboard need to be in line with the elbows, which must be at 90 degrees. Both the height of the desk and the seat must be adjusted so that the elbows form a 90 degrees angle while they lay on the desk. In order to avoid a backache and neck and shoulder pain, it is necessary to have a well-balanced and symmetrical load on the higher part of the body.
- Use wrist rests for the keyboard or an ergonomic mouse
Wrist rests are extremely important in order to prevent diseases such as the carpal tunnel syndrome. Indeed, these small “cushions” help maintain the wrist in line with the forearm and the hand, thus protecting joints, tendons and nerves. The ergonomic mouse is a valid alternative.
- Place the computer’s display at a correct distance
The computer’s display needs to be put at a 50 to 70 cm distance, just below our eyes. Therefore, we won’t have to flex our neck in order to watch it.
- Do stretching and have some breaks
It is advisable to perform some muscle stretching exercises (especially for the neck) also at the desk. Moreover, it is recommended to have some breaks to stretch the legs.
The last recommendation comes directly from the Editorial Staff. The good season has come! Walk for at least 30 minutes a day outside and you will see the results in no time. Walking is a cure-all for body and soul. You won’t regret it!