Image: Ergonomic Safety Program Logo

HEALTHY COMPUTING EMAIL TIP 491: ENGAGE YOUR QUADS

Back pain often occurs when we sit for long periods of time. This is especially common when we anchor ourselves in a position of leaning slightly forward when looking at the monitor and using the keyboard or mouse. This habitual posture engages the smaller muscles of the back and legs and can lead to a pattern of tightness when we stand and walk. Stop low back tension when you ENGAGE YOUR QUADS.

HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR QUADS:

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart (remove high heel shoes). Tighten your abdomen slightly and slowly squat down as you exhale. If you feel the need, hold onto a desk or wall for balance. Go down as far as you comfortably can. Inhale and, as you exhale, slowly stand up. Feel the muscles in your legs carry the burden of the movement. Squat down again and, as you slowly lower your body, allow your back to relax. Keep your back relaxed as you stand up, using your leg muscles. Slowly lower and raise your body two or three more times. (You may only be able to do a few initially, but if you continue doing these daily, you will strengthen your leg muscles.)

Avoid bending over and do squats when your work allows:

--When talking on the phone

--When waiting for a report to print

--When retrieving a book from a low shelf

--Whenever you need to collect something from the floor

Remember: Pain equals no gain. If you feel pain, do not do this exercise.

Do this or other large movements every 20 minutes.

The Institute for Holistic Healing Studies and Human Resources sponsor the distribution of Healthy Computing Email Tips. Copyright 2009 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney. Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holders.
SF State Home