More often than not, most people refer ergonomics as the study of human efficiency in the workplace. But there is more to ergonomics than its application in the working environment.
In fact, Merriam-Webster defines the concept in broader terms. Also interchangeably used with human factors and human engineering, the dictionary definition is as follows:
1. an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely
2. the design characteristics of an object resulting especially from the application of the science of ergonomicsMerriam-Webster
Given these two definitions, ergonomics can be applied to circumstances where prolonged sitting affects health and efficiency, such as driving. As comfortable as a seat may seem, if not adjusted properly, the driver will inevitably experience stress and tension through the body.
To decrease lower back pain, foot cramps, sore neck and shoulders, follow these tips from PROergonomics:
- Raise or lower your seat until your knees align with your hips to reduce back flexion
- Move your seat forward so you can reach the foot pedals without leaving your backrest and with your knees slightly bent
- Reduce disc pressure in your lower back by reclining your seat between 100-110 degrees
- Make sure the headrest is at the middle of your head
- Position the steering wheel so it’s high enough so your knees don’t bump into it but low enough and close enough to reduce neck, shoulder and upper back strain
- Place your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions on the wheel to relax your shoulders