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Q. I sit at a desk all day at work. Any tips for ergonomic positioning?

A: You and I and much of the world’s population sit at our desks far too often—it seems to be a curse of modern society. However, it’s the reality we live in, and we must deal with it as best we can. So I applaud your question.

Ergonomic positioning undoubtedly plays a big role in protecting the body from the impacts of sitting. Some of the things to look for are a good and supportive chair, the correct height desk, the correct height computer monitor, and easy access to the mouse without having to strain the muscles in your arms and shoulders. Yet with all that said, two things are key—and they have little to do with the desk, computer or chair.

First, be aware of your posture at all times. The two areas that need to be highlighted are the shoulders, which may droop forward into a “round shoulder” position, and the hip flexors, which become short and tight, due to the hip being in flexion for hours. Check and recheck that you are not slouching, slumped over, or tensing your neck and shoulders—this happens to everyone. Pay particular attention to the head, which tends to drift forward causing tension in the neck. Simply bring the body back into good alignment.

Second, get up, walk around and stretch the shoulders and chest often. Although it’s difficult to remind ourselves to do so, we must find ways. It is continuous sitting that causes the muscles to tighten up.

Rael Isacowitz, MA, has been practicing Pilates for more than 30 years and is recognized internationally as an expert in the field. In 1989, Rael founded BASI Pilates®, a comprehensive Pilates education organization represented throughout the world. For more information, visit