Ergonomics is all about taking care of and respecting our bodies. To me, it's more than just getting a new chair or equipment or working on our posture. It's a mindset of realizing what our body is and isn't meant to do.
When I think of the optimal ergonomic program for individuals, I focus on how they are practicing, but will also consider factors outside of the operatory. Things like exercise, stretching, sleep, and hydration. For this post, I'd like to talk about hydration.
Our body is comprised of about 60% water. With that knowledge, it comes as no surprise that dehydration can have vast effects on our body and our brain. It is recommended we drink about half a gallon of water each day, which can be a challenge but it's so crucial for us when practicing.
Being properly hydrated helps us regulate our body temperature, lubricates and cushions our joints and fascia, protects our spinal cord, and removes wastes. These are all things dental practitioners can struggle with. Our PPE is hot, our joints and fascia get stiff from practicing in a static posture, our back at times is under incredible strain, and we are accumulating waste products in our tissues from being isometrically contracted over a period of time.
The simple act of drinking water can help us feel better, experience less fatigue, and have increased cognition. So when you are seeing patients and feeling worn out, try chugging some water. It may be just what your body needs.