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Canada’s Growing Demand for Ergonomics in Kitchens…for Aging in Winnipeg Place, for the disabled and the post Surgical

As the first Boomers move into their later 60’s, their growing demand for services, for activity and for health has spurred the demand for ergonomics in kitchen design.

Aging in place is a term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services (or other support) they might need over time as their needs change.

To be clear: the act of aging in place takes place during a period of time in an elderly person’s life where they can have the things that they need in their daily life, while maintaining their quality of life.

The reason this distinction is important is because many people think aging in place will fix the problems they have in their lives. The only problems that can be fixed while aging in place are the ones that a person has planned for (i.e. finances, health, personal or health care, etc.).

The kitchen has always been a place for family and socializing. Making changes for aging in place in the kitchen space can greatly increase its usability and the safety of those that live there. With home modification, people will no longer have to spend less time in the kitchen as they age.

In a growing trend observed by the brand Smeg, European consumers are opting for compact appliances to give their kitchens a homogenous look and more efficient arrangement of appliances. Will this trend make it to Canada? to the USA?

One of the most popular trends in kitchen design is the demand for ergonomics with more and more consumers choosing a linear look for the placement of their appliances. Smeg, a leading Italian home appliance manufacturer, has observed this trend with a significant growth in the sales of its compact appliance range.

Smeg is the only brand to offer its appliances in two design styles – the classic stainless steel look and the linear look in stainless steel with glass. Both design styles are made in standard sizes and have matching aesthetics to ensure the kitchen gets a clean and homogenous look.

All standard compact appliances are 600mm wide and 450mm high and designed to be easily installed in a bank at midway level (chest or eye level) or under the bench. Smeg’s current range includes convection ovens with microwave, combination/steam convection ovens, dedicated steam ovens, microwave ovens with grill function and built-in coffee machines.

Appliances play a major role in a person’s ability to use and work in the kitchen safely and efficiently. Appliances that do not incorporate universal design, or that are placed improperly, can inhibit this. Select appliances that display information clearly, have convenient functions and are easy to use. Many appliance makers are incorporating universal design principles in their designs, which allow consumers to get a variety of more functional appliances. You should also consider investing in energy saving appliances, which will help you save money. Currently, the most popular placement of any appliance or storage cabinet is at the midway level since it ensures easy and safe access to a range of appliances without the need to bend or stoop.

As in lifting or reaching mechanics, the placement of load or where you interact with that load is of key importance.

Beware of your biomechanics. Know your Ergonomics.

Know yourPhysio Winnipeg!

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Even science can provide ‘stats’ on sitting in Winnipeg to prevent neck and back pain, especially those Downtown, Physiotherapy Winnipeg can educate you

No one will stand all day when they have the opportunity to sit. This is because the body works harder when standing than when sitting. However, when we at yourPhysio.com in Winnipeg review work production studies indicate that workers are more efficient when they stand to work. So how do you decide between the two? Consider these general guidelines Winnipeg!

When Standing is preferred:

the task cannot be performed with arms kept comfortably by your sides.

assembling, testing, or repairing larger products (i.e., greater than 6 inches high)

the work area is too large to be comfortably reached when seated. Stand when you must reach more than 15” past the front edge of the workstation. The maximum reach envelope when standing is significantly larger than the corresponding reach envelope when sitting for both men and women (Sengupta & Das, 2000).

you work in more than one workspace to perform job duties and must move around frequently.
the work task lasts less than 5 minutes.

dealing with heavy objects weighting more than 10 pounds. In general, more strength can be exerted while standing (Mital & Faard, 1990) Stand when you need to maximize grip forces (Catovic, Catovic, Kraljevic & Muftic, 1991) or complete static or dynamic lifts (Yates, & Karwowksi, 1992).the work surface does not allow the worker to comfortably position legs under the surface because of an obstruction (i.e. working on a conveyor or a progressive assembly line, working in a kitchen, using a workstation with a drawer located underneath the work surface or a wide front beam, working at a retail counter, or using specialized equipment)

tasks require frequent application of downward pressures (loading bags, inserting screws)

Jobs that are most appropriately done standing include construction workers, highway flaggers, medical personnel, painters, electricians, plumbers, loggers, firefighters, plant inspectors, and maintenance personnel.

When Sitting is preferred:

Better when visually intensive or precise work is required, the activity is of a repetitive nature; longer tasks are completed (greater than 5 minutes), and when everything can be placed within easy reach. Sitting is not appropriate when heavy objects must be handled or long reaches are required.

However, prolonged sitting has been associated with a high incidence of back complaints (Mandal, 1981), increased spinal muscular activity and intradiscal pressure (Grandjean and Hunting, 1977; Lindh, 1989). Other problems reported include discomfort in the lower extremities (Westgaard and Winkel, 1996) and increased muscle loading of the neck and shoulder muscles when sitting with the forearms unsupported as compared to standing with the forearms unsupported (Aaras et al., 1997; Lannersten and Harms-Ringdahl, 1990).

To summarize the literature, neither static standing nor sitting is recommended. Take note of ‘static’ versus ‘dynamic’ Winnipeg, learn to balance each through your day.

Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Research indicates that constrained sitting or constrained standing are risk factors and that alternating work postures may be preferable. Alternation between two postures allows for increased rest intervals of specific body parts, and reduced potential for risk factors commonly associated with MSD development.

Ideally, provide workers with a workstation and job tasks that allow frequent changes of working posture, including sitting, standing, and walking. If either sitting or standing is feasible but only one possible, sitting in a properly designed chair is preferable.

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Winnipeg, have you heard? Sitting is bad for you…solutions by Physiotherapy Winnipeg, yourPhysio.com

Winnipeg, by now you know you probably know that sitting down all day is terrible for you. As computer hardware and software accelerate the ‘web 3.0’, we can do more than ever before from a sitting position. Ergonomics is no longer a foreign word, and our ‘core’ exercises need to be performed everyday!

Who needs scientists to tell you that sitting for even one hour causes the production of fat-burning enzymes to decline a whopping 90%, or that more than four hours of desk time each day raises your risk of a heart attack by more than 100%?

You can feel exactly how crappy sitting all day makes you feel at the end of each workday; though you may be shocked to learn that being a regular gym-goer doesn’t protect you from the harmful effects of all that sitting. Standing up more is scientifically proven to have huge health benefits, but in our digital world it’s not as simple as it sounds. Here’s how to make the switch to an upright workday.

Try the latest DIY option, I have had so many patients describe their attempts at raising their work surface by box, crate, home-made devices, etc. I’m sure you could find the latest ‘how-to-video’ on YouTube to get an idea as to how to produce something for your workstation. Ergonomic clients of yourPhysio.com have purchased electronic and hydraulic ‘sit-stand’ workstations to allow their employees the postural variety that may be necessary for back pain, hip strains or knee sprains. These rehabs require movement throughout the day, and consistent changes in posture is a great place to start.

Invest in an ‘anti-fatigue’ mat, change your shoes every 6-8 months or try an over-the-counter orthotic to replace those worn insoles. You may require a doctor’s note to have orthotics covered by your insurance plan, but it is an employment benefit; so benefit!

Tweak your ergonomics, hire an ergonomic consultant for an hour and learn the proper way, not only how to sit, but how to perform your job so that it will not cause pain. Ask questions about posture, exercise and equipment available to make any task easier and less painful.

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Winnipeg weather can be dangerous too; ice, falls, car accidents, back pain…get Physiotherapy

As the remnants of Sandy linger out East, and people return to their lives, we give thanks for living in the middle, the relative center, on the Prairies. But as our fore-Fathers discovered, Winnipeg weather can be dangerous too; just today another car accident where the conditions and poor preparation cause injury.

Falls can diminish your ability to lead an active and independent life. About one third of people over the age of 65 and almost half of people over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year. There usually are several reasons for a fall. We can help you reduce your risk of falling, and better your performance through Universal design. We can assess your biomechanics at home, on the job or even during sport; like golf, running and curling.

Balance, together with ‘core’ training can enhance your ability to perform, avoid injury, especially like those from falls.

Aging is a natural process that encompasses biological changes that tend to be associated with the development of joint pain or that may limit the ability to work with joint pain.  In addition to arthritic joint degeneration, aging is associated with loss of muscle mass and muscle function.  Functional loss is influenced by changes at the cellular and molecular physiology level.  These changes may reduce joint stability and impair normal joint motion that affect the ability to tolerate specific work postures and repetitive motion.  With a loss in muscle strength, the same level of physical effort places a greater demand on an individual relative to her/his capabilities.

The relationship between aging and joint pain in the workplace is complex and influenced by a number of factors.  For example, national surveys of workers across a wide variety of occupations indicate that not all older workers (50 years and older) report a greater risk of joint pain.  Older workers at greatest risk tend to be in jobs that have high physical demands.  And once an injury has occurred, it may take longer for an older worker to return to work.  In spite of these factors, studies indicate that older workers suffer no decrease in overall job performance.

Osteoarthritis, and the pain associated with degenerative disc disease in the lower back can be alleviated with laser therapy. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact your Physio.

You can perform at your best when prepared
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your Ergonomics, line of sight and that nagging neck-shoulder-upper back pain, by Physiotherapy Winnipeg

Whether it be at work, rest or play; a candy bar cannot make that pain go away…but your ergonomics at the workstation, at home or doing any activity can make a significant difference to your health.

We can often find those simple modifications, those easy answers to perform a task easier, and safer. The problem is that many of us do not take the time to change our habits, make changes and implement them consistently at our busiest work areas…the kitchen, in this case. The ‘pant hangar’ keeps the recipe near eye level, there is no awkward posture to maintain and the cabinet can even be accessed quite easily, well done!

 

This concept always applies to those that must ‘sit for a living’, the ‘desk jockeys’ of the finance, legal, grain and media industries here in Downtown Winnipeg. Like a ‘whiplash’, those muscle aches can proliferate throughout the upper back and neck.

 

Such that, you must remember to adjust your computer monitor height; use some yellow pages or photocopy paper bundles. Some recent ergonomic assessments have resulted in 8-10 inches of monitor height changes to accommodate the individual’s line of sight. Your eye level should be equal to that of the curser start position, in the most frequently used software program. This position allows the eye to adjust to a variability of 2-3 inches of text/toolbar and decreases or eliminates the chronic forward head posture.

Let your human resource department or health & safety manager know that I am available for any size group education, assessments and ergonomic design.

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Sitting a ‘disease in Winnipeg? Just a necessary evil of our computer driven ergonomics Downtown

Really…too many media driven articles on sitting as a disease”…since 1991, it’s been a necessary evil of our increasingly computer driven ergonomics at work, rest and play; the desktop, the laptop, the smartphone, the tablet, next?

But then why are exercise plans so quick to add the situp? or bench press? or knee extension? All of these place our biomechanics, our posture into greater flexion! Beware, add more extension exercises now! add those planks!

Give yourself more reasons to stand…even every 12 minutes is ideal. If you cannot figure it out, give me a call…your ergonomics may be your disease…and you are not retiring anytime soon.

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Computer Ergonomics applied to Universal Design in Winnipeg Kitchens

Our universal design process proposes kitchen design and products to be accessible to the widest range of people, from our Grandparents to the kids, for generations, for function, safety and for all abilities.

Our design goals
to assess function
to plan for current disability and future ability
to design for safety
to promote functional recovery and family enjoyment
to assure a better quality of life in the kitchen

welcome to visit or contact me
9 4 3 8 4 1 1 in clinic
2 9 1 8 4 1 2 at mobile office
(807) 5 4 3 1 5 3 2 at the LacLu demo kitchen…thank you for your visits and questions this summer!