DON’T LET YOUR COMPUTER HABITS AFFECT YOUR HEALTH


 
When Woody Allen was young he would pen 50 jokes in a day. Now, decades later, he is putting out a feature film a year, and all this on an old German typewriter. Have you ever noticed how he has hunched shoulders?
 
We haven’t asked Woody whether he gets aches and pains from working this way – but you needn’t if you follow these simple suggestions:

Posture problems

If you’re working at a computer, it’s good to sit upright with relaxed shoulders, so your arms are horizontal and your feet are supported – adjusting your chair and desk so that your forearms are horizontal is the best way to begin egonomically adjusting your workspace. A straight back with support allows your spine to adopt its natural ‘S’ shape.

If you can touch-type, then the top of your computer monitor should be roughly level with your horizontal eye-line. If you look at the keyboard while typing, set it slightly lower.
 
Whatever posture you adopt, movement will help you avert fatigue and injury, keeping your muscles relaxed and healthy. So put that kettle on, and have a stretch – it’s important to take breaks.

On the go

Mobile devices such as notebook laptops aren’t geared towards sitting comfortably for long periods of time, but have become everyday essentials over recent years. If you’re working on the train a lot, ultrabook laptops, netbook laptops and tablets are lighter than laptops and easier to carry. But on the other hand, if you do a lot of typing the larger keyboard on laptops can help. Try to use a desktop for the majority of your work or have a docking station or laptop holder. Even putting your laptop on a couple of books and using an external keyboard and mouse is better for your posture than resting the computer on your knees.
 
Most mobile devices will allow you to plug in an old keyboard, mouse or screen and set up a workstation at home, while cheap adapters from computer shops will let you use any workstation accessories you may have lying around. Tape the cables to a desk so they’re ready for when you put your laptop down.

Views on vision

Many people complain that staring at screens for prolonged periods of time affects their vision. To avoid eye strain and headaches, take breaks regularly and don’t squint to read text if you can avoid it. Holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling up and down will zoom in and out for webpages and lots of other applications, enabling you to adjust the text size easily. Macs and iPads also have ‘pinch and zoom’ functionality, allowing you to zoom in by ‘pinching’ screen, dragging your thumb and index finger towards or away from each other.
 
Now that you’ve set up a comfortable workstation, you’re ready to write your own existential Allen-esque masterpiece… or simply finishing that spread-sheet will do.

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