In this modern age of technology we find ourselves in front of our computers for long periods of time, day in and day out. This may have negative effects on our bodies and may only be noticeable in the long-term with alarming consequences. Back problems often stem from sitting in the same position for long periods. Therefore having an ergonomically efficient workspace is vital.
Some areas to look at would be:
- The positioning of your computer screen: make sure it is not too high causing you to tilt your head back; therefore causing stress to the shoulder and neck muscles. . The most ergonomically efficient way to position a monitor, for example, is to place it directly ahead of you at a position where you can look straight ahead at it without the need to tilt your head at all.
- Ensure your keyboard is not too low causing your wrists to be too bent at an awkward angle; this will lead to strain on the bone tendon muscle connections as the finger tendons twist around the wrist bones. If your keyboard feels uncomfortable then the height is not correct. Proper positioning of your keyboard includes the following:
- Positioning the keyboard: Position the keyboard directly in front of you. This makes it possible to type with your shoulders relaxed and your upper arms hanging comfortably.
- Adjusting the keyboard height and slope: Adjust your keyboard slope, so that your forearms, wrists and hands are in their neutral comfort zone.
- Aligning the mouse and keyboard:When using a mouse, position the device immediately to the right or left of your keyboard. Avoid positioning the device too far from the side of the keyboard or toward the keyboard’s back edge.
- Adjust chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor. This will keep your knees and torso at roughly the same height. To find this height, stand by the chair and raise or lower the seat to just below your elbows bent between 90 and 110 degrees. Take care that your elbows are not winged out, but instead hang at a comfortable, fairly vertical alignment. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground and your wrists in a neutral position.
- Change your posture regularly. Regardless of how healthy your work posture is, sitting in any one position for an extended period is not healthy. If you have an adjustable chair, alternate between the following positions, all of which will keep your pose neutral and relaxed:
- Sit upright – Keep your torso roughly vertical, your thighs horizontal, and your lower legs vertical.
- Sit reclined – Tilt the backrest of your chair back so that your torso reclines between 105 and 120 degrees from your thighs.
- Sit declined – Tilt the seat of your chair slightly so that the angle between your thighs and torso is slightly more than 90 degrees. Don’t overdo this or you will feel like you”re sliding.
By Brad Porter