App of the week: Now sit up straight and pay attention
According to Dr Jason Queiros, a chiropractor at Stamford Sports and Spine in Connecticut, you add 9kg on your back and spinal column for every 2.5cm your head tilts towards your monitor. You don't need a doctor to tell you that this isn't good.
Ergo@Work, a product of Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, is designed to help you analyse your posture. It provides a series of exercises and stretches, demonstrated by an animated character, to help you rebalance your body after a period at your desk.
The analysis is fun. Get a colleague to take a photo of you at your desk, aligning the app template with your seated figure as best as possible. Once the photo has been taken, you are presented with the analysis tool where you align key points on the stick figure with key points on your photo: eyes, shoulders, monitor, knees and so on. This is done by dragging the points on the screen with your finger. Hit next and the app asks for your profile details before giving you the results of the analysis.
If the points are red, you know you are doing something wrong. Press on any of the points to learn more. The app tells you what you are doing wrong and makes suggestions on how to correct the situation. You are also recommended exercises to do.
I learned my head was tilted too far downwards, and that I should adjust my monitor height or tilt my screen. My recommended exercises included some neck rotations. The app lets you set a timer to remind you to take a break and stretch out.
This is a fun and free way to review the configuration of your seat, desk and monitor before you cause yourself any serious damage.