If you’re a gamer, you’re probably no stranger to hours-long sessions at the keyboard. Office workers spend so much time in front of a computer, the mouse might seem like just another body part. We’ve become accustomed to extended screen time, but here’s the unfortunate truth: these computer habits are bad for our health. Since we’re all about making the most of your computing life, we think it’s high time to talk about healthy computing posture!
Bad posture isn’t always something we think about as a serious issue, but it really can have a big effect on your health! You’ve probably noticed that bad posture can cause neck, shoulder, back, and wrist pain. But did you know that slouching, hunching, and slumping can also cause long-term damage to your skeletal system? Bad posture can contribute to skeletal misalignment, joint stress, osteoarthritis, and can even inhibit growth!
Are you sitting up a bit straighter in your chair, now? Good! Now that we know the dangers, let’s talk about healthy computing habits you can use for the long haul. To make sure your office work and epic gaming raids aren’t literally back-breaking, just remember two things: get your setup straight, and move! Sounds easy, right? Well, it is! But, like so many good habits, the hard part is in consistently doing the right things.
Now, let’s take a look at what healthy computing really looks like.
Setting Things Straight
The most important part of healthy computing is maintaining good posture. “But,” you might say, “I’ve had bad posture for years, how am I supposed to know what good posture looks like?” Great question! The key to great posture is a number: 90. You want to keep most of your joints (except your wrists!) at 90° angles.
To get it right, you might need to make a couple of adjustments to your desk furniture. First, you’ll want to adjust your chair height (or use a footrest) until your knees can bend straight while your feet rest flat. You will also want to make sure the height of your keyboard and mouse are even with your elbows. Not only does this encourage good posture, it also protects your wrists from stressful angles. The final piece of this puzzle is the position of your computer’s monitor. Sitting down, the screen should be about 2-2.5 feet from your eyes, and the upper edge at or slightly below eye level. The distance helps protect your eyes from light strain, and the angle protects your neck from strain and allows for comfortable focus.
Make a Move
If you know you’ll be using the computer for a long time, be sure to give your heart and body a break every once in a while. Though a few jumping jacks and push-ups would be great, you don’t need to do any strenuous activity – just get up and walk around or do some light stretching. We recommend doing this as often as possible, but shoot for at least once every 20 minutes or so.
It’s also important to stretch your wrist, neck, and eye muscles frequently to prevent strain and long-term damage. Every few minutes or so, do a few head rolls and eye rolls while stretching your wrists. Here are a few great wrist stretches, if you aren’t sure what to do:
It can be frustrating to step away from the keyboard at first, but your body will thank you!
What do you think? What healthy computing tricks and tips do you use? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!