Living and Wellness Putting Ergonomics to Work for You By UPMC HealthPlan, January 23, 2014 At home and on the job, ergonomics can help you avoid injury and discomfort — and even increase your productivity. The goal of ergonomics is to make our places of work as safe, comfortable, and efficient as possible. But let’s not limit its uses to our day jobs! According to the physical therapists at UPMC, many of the aches and pains people experience can be attributed to ergonomic issues like poor posture, excessive repetitive movement, or improper lifting techniques. They advise applying basic ergonomic principles at work, home, or play to help avoid injury and perform at your best. Use the right equipment. Make sure the tool fits the job and your body, whether you’re sitting at a desk, vacuuming, riding a bike, or swinging a golf club. Work at the right height for you. A too-low computer chair or a too-high kitchen counter can wreak havoc on your neck, back, and shoulders. Avoid contact stress. Wear gloves or use tools designed to reduce pressure on soft tissue to avoid blisters and other skin damage. Keep items within easy reach. Extend your arms out on each side. Picture an imaginary arc in front of you from left to right. Place the tools or supplies you use most often within that area. Avoid repetitive movements and working long periods in one position. Alternate tasks and change your body position regularly. Stretch every 20 to 30 minutes.