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Comfy Computer

Friday, December 22nd, 2006 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized
 
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Q:
When I sit at my computer for too long, my back starts to hurt and my eyes go blurry, among other aches and pains. How can I change what I’m doing so that I don’t hurt so much when I’m finished using my computer? Please help!

A:
I’m sure this is a question that has been on everyone’s mind at one time or another. If the work that you have to do each day requires you to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, it’s important to handle everything the right way. If you do, you can bypass all those aches and pains that start to linger around. If you’ve ever had trouble with this or think you might in the future, read on. I’ve got some important instructions for you today!

The first thing you have to look at is the set up of your computer equipment. If you don’t have things set correctly, it could really cause you some strain. You need to change everything around to accommodate to the proper body positions. The number one thing is your seating arrangement. Make sure your chair is adjusted so that your feet fit flat (but comfortably) on the floor. Your knees should always bend at a 90 degree angle and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Next, make sure the back of your chair is adjusted properly. It should be set in such a way that your hips bend at a 90 degree angle and one that gives proper lower back support to you.

The next item for discussion is how your mouse and keyboard are set. Make sure they are placed where your hands can be at your elbow height or slightly lower and where your shoulders can relax with your elbows hanging down close to your sides. Your monitor is also a big deal when it comes to comfort. It should be placed on your desk in a position that lines up to or is slightly below your eye level. Make sure you have a straight forward viewing of your screen and ensure that you are at least 16″ away from it. Always keep your head upright as well. All of this will help with any eye strain you may get.

Now, once you have all of that set in place, you can work on making your computing habits healthy ones. During your day, try to keep a correct posture as much as you can. Although you need to stay comfortable, proper posture helps a lot. Also, make sure that you use as little force as possible. When you’re typing, you don’t need to pound the keyboard. You can get through by just tapping the keys lightly. This will help with any pain you have in your hands.

You should also take plenty of breaks throughout the day. Extended computer use can lead to more problems for you at the end of the day. It’s said that you shouldn’t go over 30 minutes of being at your computer at one time. Get up and stretch every once in awhile or take a short walk around the office. Now, when you stretch, you should watch yourself. Don’t bounce, use any jerky moves or stretch so much that it hurts. When stretching, breathe deeply and just straighten your body out until you feel a comfortable limit.

Another important factor in comfortable computer use is the lighting around you. If possible, avoid any bright lighting, because it is bad for your eyes. Of course, make sure your lighting is bright enough for you to see what you’re doing, but don’t overdo it. If your eyes ever get tired, try shutting them tightly for a few seconds and then open them as wide as you can. Repeat this a few times to feel some relief.

If you are one of the many who deal with aches and pains everyday after work, you should try some of these exercises as well. With all the typing and clicking you do, it’s possible that your hands start to feel a little cramped To combat this, try spreading your fingers out as far as you can get them and hold for 10 seconds. Do that several times in a row every so often. For your neck, you should turn your head to each side and keep it there for 10 seconds. You can also try tilting your head to each side for a few seconds for some extra comfort. If you have shoulder pain, shrug them forward in a circular motion for several seconds. Do it in the reverse mode (backward) as well. Finally, for your lower back, stand up and put your hands on your hips with your feet shoulder length apart. Lean your hips forward, but push your shoulders back. Hold there and stretch them for 10 seconds or so.

Okay, I think that pretty much covers everything. I know this is a bit of a strange tip for today, but if we aren’t comfortable while we’re using our computers, our work won’t be worth anything. Sometimes, you just have to go back to the basics!

~ Erin

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