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Good Posture, We Should Have Never Left You in Charge!

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Nov 29, 2006 6:33PM

Whether it be for work, pleasure, or out of sheer ennui, we sometimes find ourselves sitting in front of our computers for hours at a crack. Eyes strained, our carpals tunneled, our back giving us a beatdown; we feel like we are years above our chronological age. When did we get so creaky? How could we be falling apart like this?

We've tried to do the right thing — sit up straight, hold ourselves in alignment. We even got one of those chairs that has no back, so that we are automatically supposed to sit in some ergonomically functional way. All to no end. At the end of the day, we still find ourselves flat on the Chicagoist office floor, stretching out our back and wishing we had money for chiropractic, acupuncture or massage.

2006_11recliningcats.jpgBut some grand old Scots came across the pond Monday to McCormick Place to rendevouz with the Radiological Society of North America. One such doc was Dr. Waseem Amir Bashir, who led a study conducted at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland. He said that the best position for working "is what you get in a La-Z-Boy, although that wouldn't work well for someone using a computer." He was able to nail down these suspicions using a new MRI that allowed for subjects to be sitting rather than in the traditional "flat-on-your-back-in-freaky-pod-cocoon" position.

Basically, the long and recline of it all is that an obtuse angle between the thigh and body is the best — we're talking 135 degrees, rather than the 90 degree angle people have been told is "proper" posture. That's a wide angle, one where the leg and body are more open — again, think recliner. Think floating on water in one of those chairs with the cup holders.

Bashir isn't all out on a limb by himself. Other ergonomics experts and doctors agree, ranging from Gunnar Andersson, (now chairman of orthopedics at Rush University in Chicago) who found 30 years ago that a 135-degree angle was optimal (his response? DUH!), to ergonomics specialists from office furniture makers Herman Miller and Steelcase, Inc.

We hope this will lead to offices with couches and recliners with wireless and laptops, soon to be followed with afternoon snack and nap time. Sweet!

Image via sipawhiskey.