How much time do YOU spend at the computer or on your smartphone or tablet each day? With the exciting capabilities of today’s emerging technology, most of us spend a good portion of our day looking at some kind of digital display. In addition to all the wonderful and engaging content that the cyber world affords us, it is important to pay attention to the physical world as well! It is very easy to slip into habits of poor posture while using these devices… slouching forward, hunching over, craning your neck, and spending sometimes hours at a time in the same position! There are volumes written about ergonomic computer arrangements, and I won’t try to reproduce them here. I would, however, like to offer 6 quick points to help you stay physically healthy while sitting at a desk in front of your computer:
1. Your keyboard and mouse should be a little lower than the desktop, and at the same level as each other. This helps to prevent repetitive wrist strain.
2. Keep your monitor at about arms length (as long as you can still read it comfortably) with the top edge of the screen at eye level.
3. Avoid sitting rigidly in one place… but don’t slouch either! Change your position often to prevent fatigue.
4. Frequently take a few seconds to do some neck stretching… simple side to side neck bending stretches can do wonders for you… They’re easy to do, very effective, and you don’t even have to stop working (or playing) to do them!
5. Make sure the seat of your chair is not pressing into the back of your knees, and use a lumbar support for your backrest.
6. Stand up and take a break at least once every hour… It doesn’t have to take long, but walk around and stretch for a few seconds. For a whole bunch of great low-tech stretches and exercises, check out this website!
Tablets and Smartphones (and now Superphones) are a completely different topic. Since they are not typically docked anywhere, using these devices can lead to an entirely different set of ergonomic challenges… but that’s a topic for another day!