In Theory: Get aligned

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By Ian Coleman

Ergonomics is the applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so the most efficient and safe interaction takes place.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, working with the body in the way it naturally aligns “reduces stress and strain on muscles, tendons and the skeletal system and reduces you risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder.”

A musculoskeletal disorder is “damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back,” the Health and Safety Executive website says.

Hall Buntley, program coordinator of medical assisting, said he sees numerous posture mistakes being made on this campus.

He said students with backpacks who wear just one strap exhibit a bad spinal posture.

“New trees, which are planted, have supports to keep them straight,” Buntley said. “Our muscles in our back are the same; they keep the spine straight.”

Buntley said it takes a conscious effort to maintain a good ergonomic posture, but there are benefits.

“A better posture leads to more energy because of increased circulation and lung capacity,” Buntley said.

He said people should keep their wrists relaxed while typing to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sitting using incorrect posture causes one to use more muscles and will make one more fatigued over time.

Everyday objects, such as a computer mouse, a chair and shoes, are designed with ergonomics in mind.

“Things we use are designed for our body in its relaxed state,” Buntley said.

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