Posture and Exercises

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Ergonomics for Healthcare Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Posture and Exercises

Being aware of your posture is important for prevention of MSDs. These are postures that should be avoided:

  • Prolonged or repetitive bending at the waist
  • Prolonged standing or sitting without shifting position
  • Keeping an arm outstretched for a prolonged period of time
  • Holding or turning your head consistently to one side
  • Remaining in an awkward position for a prolonged period of time

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several exercises that are beneficial for the prevention of MSDs. These recommendations are included as a resource. A partial representation of the exercises are demonstrated below:

Cable Stretch

  • While seated with chin in, stomach in, shoulders relaxed, hands relaxed in lap, and feet flat on the floor, imagine a cable pulling the head upward
  • Hold for 3 seconds and relax
  • Repeat 3 times

Sidebend: Neck Stretch

  • Tilt head to one side (ear towards shoulder)
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Relax
  • Repeat 3 times on each side

Diagonal Neck Stretch

  • Turn head slightly and then look down as if looking in your pocket
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Relax
  • Repeat 3 times on each side

Shoulder Shrug

  • Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold for approximately 3 seconds
  • Rotate shoulders back and down
  • Repeat 10 times

Executive Stretch

  • While sitting, lock hands behind head
  • Bring elbows back as far as possible
  • Inhale deeply while leaning back and stretching
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • Exhale and relax
  • Repeat

Foot Rotation

  • While sitting, slowly rotate each foot from the ankle
  • Rotate 3 times in one direction, then 3 times in the opposite direction
  • Relax
  • Repeat