When you’re at the computer, or any desk for that matter, for a long part of the day, you can have distressing aches and pains from simply typing or remaining in an awkward position for too long. That’s why it pays to investigate an ergonomic computer design. Often you don’t have to purchase new equipment or office furniture, simply modify what you already have to make it more comfortable and healthier for your body.
Adjust the Height of Your Chair
Make certain that your chair is the proper height. Most computer chairs adjust so this quick fix costs you nothing. Stand up next to the chair and raise or lower the seat so that it is just below your kneecaps, you’ll find the right height. Sit on the chair and if your feet are flat to the floor and thighs parallel to the ground, you’ve made it the right height. There should also be 2 inches of space from the side of the chair seat to the back of your knees.
Do You Have Adequate Support?
The backrest of your chair should be comfortably pressed against your back and follow the back’s curves. Make sure that this allows you to sit reclined at an angle that’s between 110 to 130 degrees. You can use a towel to make the adjustment if your seat is immobile. Make certain your armrests allow you to lay your arms on the rest at a 90-degree angle without your elbows pointing outward.
If your chair doesn’t allow for adjustment or you’re considering a new chair, you’ll find reviews of office chairs online.
Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse
Your keyboard and mouse play a role in your comfort at the computer. The keyboard should remain flat, unless you have an ergonomic board designed to relieve stress and prevent carpel tunnel. A wrist rest isn’t an ergonomic tool so avoid them. The use of a wrist rests increases your chance of carpel tunnel syndrome.
Just for the record, a wrist rest is only meant to be used for resting your wrists. For instance, you are taking a break. It only becomes dangerous when you use them as you are typing. Your wrists are meant to be lifted from your desk when you are typing.
Your hands should always be held in a natural position at the keyboard. That means your wrists should be aligned straight. If you bend your wrists at an angle too much, an ergonomic natural keyboard such as the Microsoft 4000 natural keyboard is a worthy investment for your wrist health.
Your mouse and hand should fit like a glove. If you gently cup it (the mouse), it should cover it like a blanket. If you are finding your fingers in a crunching posture, buy a bigger mouse. It is better to buy a generic, inexpensive mouse that fits your hand than a fancy mouse that is too small for your hand.
Of course, if you do lots of scrolling for your work at the computer, it is advisable to get those ergonomic mouse with a scroll button in the middle. This reduces the energy and the wear and tear of your hands.
The Height of Your Desk and Monitor
Your desk should be designed to keep the top of the monitor at your eye level. Why? This removes any need to bend your neck. if your desk is not height adjustable, adjust the height of your monitor. I adjust mine by stacking large phone books on it.
Beware that your desk is not filled with clutter on top and below it. Your arms and legs should be able to move freely.
Footrests – do you need one?
A footrest can reduce the pressure on your lower back and make it more comfortable to sit for extended periods. It’s also a good idea to use a lumbar pillow on the back of your chair as a method of support.
Other Ergonomic Computer Equipment
Headsets for your telephone help you maintain the ability to type while talking but also prevent you from sitting in an awkward position during lengthy phone conversations.
Building an ergonomic computer workstation is not sufficient to avoid computer injuries. Having good ergonomic habits are integral to the practice of Ergonomics.
If you spend more than two hours at your computer, take a 5 to 10 minute break. Look somewhere far away or somewhere green to rest your eyes.