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The right handed world and being out of balance.

Posted Jan 08 2010 10:36am

You may of noticed that most of us are right handed. (An estimated 70% to 80% of the world population). You may of noticed that many things are specifically made for the right handed use. (keyboards, scissors, tools, etc.) There are many theories and reasons why we are mostly right handed. Some reasons include physical attributes on how our brains work, some are about beliefs and superstitions, anther is sociological, and most recently it has become industrial. What ever the reasons are, which I believe all contribute to our right handedness, the major drawback is when we use our right hands the perform the majority of daily tasks, our bodies become out of balance. Many studies show that we are 15% to 30% stronger on our dominate side of our bodies. Injuries often occur when we try to use our none dominate side of our body in the same fashion as our dominate side.

Ergonomically the goal is to work in balance, however I continually encounter individuals with back or shoulder issues on their left or none dominate side and see a direct correlation to their work environment in which everything they do is on the right or dominate side, (a desk setup with phone, mouse, task light, reference material, waste basket, writing surface, water bottle, file cabinet, bookshelf, etc. are one side of the desk – nothing on the other side of the desk.).  For these individuals, balance is a major issue. When its pointed out it seems quite simple an easy to correct, however breaking lifelong habits is quite difficult for many. Simply holding a phone in a different hand can make people very odd and uncomfortable.  Clearly the goal is to retrain ourselves to use both sides of our bodies and get back in balance so that we do not have a overly dominate side. This has been proven with people that are ambidextrous, they have less RSI and MSD injuries than people with an dominate side of their bodies. Being in balance has substantial health benefits and many exercises emphasize it such as yoga and palates.

To solve this, notice your habits and the things you do with your left or right hand and switch it up so that your tasks are evenly distributed between your right and left hands. This may take some time to get used to and it does require some habit changing but don’t give up or get frustrated. The benefit will be apparent, your newly acquired balance will provide you with a reduced risk of injury and discomfort.

Written by Nick McElhiney – Owner of Ergonomic Evolution.

Please feel free to comment on this article. I look forward to your feedback.

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