Michigan State University

Ergonomics as We Age

Ergonomics for All Ages

Research shows that as we age, the body undergoes certain changes including with our muscles, joints, eyes, and reaction times. Research also shows that arthritis could be an increased problem for today’s work force. In addition, once you’re injured no matter your age you are more susceptible to injuries.

To ergonomically accommodate these changes and help you be more comfortable, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Increase area lighting. You might consider getting a task light.
  • Reduce glare on your monitor. Make sure area light is not creating glare. You might also want to tilt your monitor to reduce glare and help with reading the text.
  • Increase the font size.
  • Be aware of neck and shoulder posture and discomfort if using bifocals.
  • Consider purchasing eyeglasses that are prescribed specifically for computer use.
  • Take frequent breaks. Stretch.
  • Carry or push smaller work loads.
  • Rotate duties during the day.
  • Eliminate clutter in the work environment to reduce the potential for falls.
  • Minimize overhead or bent-over work.
  • Get healthy! Being of a healthy weight and exercising has been shown repeatedly to help.

If you were on the floor from falling or have to pick something up, would you be able to easily get up? If you've had surgery or injury that made it difficult, you would know how difficult this can be. Some tips:

  • While on your stomach, move to where you are on your hands and knees. You may have to rotate to your side first.
  • Use a stationary object to pull yourself up one leg at a time. If you don’t have a stationary object, you’ll want to move to your toes and fingers and pull yourself up.
  • Exercise to increase muscle strength.

Some articles to read for more information (Must be affiliated with MSU to access some of these resources):

Aging workforce to face more arthritis. (2012, December 1). CTDNEWS Workplace Solutions for Repetitive Stress Injuries: http://tinyurl.com/bv8euur.

de Brito, L.B.B. et al. (2012, December 13). Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology: http://tinyurl.com/cps44a4.

A less dry article about this article/topic:
Carroll, Linda (2012, December 13). Can you do this? Simple sitting test predicts longevity. NBCNews.com: http://tinyurl.com/bjwzvmo.

Lavender, Christina. (2008, September). Seniors: Know How to Rise Safely After a Fall. The Health Journal: http://tinyurl.com/c2rpz5u

Niedziocha, Laura. (2011, July 4). Muscles to Strengthen to Get Up From a Fall. LiveStrong.com: http://tinyurl.com/d7sv84s.

Pay heed to proper lighting. (2013, February 1). CTDNEWS Workplace Solutions for Repetitive Stress Injuries: http://tinyurl.com/czwpuoa.

More information:

http://www.humantech.com/blog/ergonomics-and-the-aging-population/ http://www.humantech.com/blog/ergonomics-and-the-aging-population/]

http://ergonomics.about.com/od/ergonomicsfortheaging/tp/10ergoaging.htm

http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/AHTutorials/cuseniors.htm