Comfortable Computer Use

Comfortable Computer Use – by Paul Linden

The information age is also the age of aches and pains. Computers are everywhere — at work, at school and at home — and millions of people are suffering from computer-related stress, fatigue, and Repetitive Strain Injuries. The results is job dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, and high medical bills.

However, through training in body awareness, relaxation and body mechanics, it is surprisingly easy to achieve comfortable computer use. Here are eight hints to make your life easier—taken from my book Comfort at Your

• Computer use is an intense athletic event. Holding your body in position for hours on end forces your whole body to work hard. Keyboarding is not just sitting around resting.
• It isn’t what you do, it’s how you do it. If you sit and move in tense, awkward ways, you will experience fatigue and pain. If you use your body in relaxed, balanced ways, and take appropriate rest and movement breaks, you will be comfortable.
• Body awareness is the key. Most people do not have enough knowledge about the anatomical structure and functioning of the body to be able to figure out strain-free ways of using their bodies, proper ways of setting up their computers, or effective movement breaks.
• Breathe gently. Many adults have learned to “suck in their guts” as they inhale, but this tension interferes with free breathing and whole body ease. The belly, chest, and back should all swell gently outward during inhalation and gently release during exhalation.
• Level your foundation. Contrary to most people’s beliefs, sitting up straight is not done by straightening the back, throwing back the shoulders or elevating the chest. It is done by rolling the pelvis into place as a foundation for the spinal column and head. Sitting up in an anatomically natural manner is surprisingly easy and comfortable, but people need instruction to learn how to do this. Using a towel roll for pelvic support will make your whole body comfortable.
• The periphery is supported by the core. The positions of your legs, arms and head are determined by how you arrange your pelvis and spinal column. In order to allow your feet to be flat on the floor and your thighs to be horizontal, the height of your chair should be equal to the length of your lower leg plus the thickness of your shoe sole. Your desk should be at a height which allows your elbows to hang by your sides and your forearms to be horizontal when you hands are on the keyboard.
• Relax your eyes. Keeping your eyes focused for lengthy periods on a single spot close to your face is fatiguing to your eye muscles. Place your monitor about an arm’s length from your face, and look away from your computer every few minutes. Look off into the distance. Close your eyes and move them around in gentle circles and figure eights. In order to keep from twisting and straining your neck and eyes, your monitor should be directly in front of your eyes, with the top edge about eyebrow level.
• Never adjust yourself to the computer. Always adjust the workstation to the requirements of your body. Obtain equipment that will work properly for you, and adjust it to fit your needs.
Paying attention to yourself as you use your computer will pay off in two ways. First, it will reduce your fatigue and prevent injuries. Second, it will allow you to practice gentle alertness, which will have beneficial results throughout your life.
This article on comfortable computer use was written by Paul Linden who will be in the UK in May, contact business training providers Integration Training for details.