Monthly PC Tips

Improve Your Posture

November 2010 – by Per Christensson

If you use a computer for several hours a day, it can cause a lot of strain on your body. While it might seem strange that not moving can cause muscle strain, it's important to remember that your muscles are still active while you are sitting. Since our bodies were made to move around, not sit around, our muscles become cramped and tight when we sit one one place for a long time. Common areas of muscle strain and fatigue include the eyes, neck, back, and wrists.

To avoid blurry vision, muscle aches, and other unwanted "sitting in one place, staring at a screen for a long time" side effects, follow these simple pointers:

  • Give your eyes a break every few minutes. Take a look around the room or do some eye excercises by rolling them clockwise and counterclockwise a few times.
  • Place the monitor at eye level and keep it about a foot and a half away from you. This will help avoid strain on your neck. It will also keep your sight from getting temporarily blurry, which happens if you're too close to the screen.
  • Maintain an upright posture at all times while working at your computer. I know it's easy to slump like a old beanbag when you're tired, but do your best to sit up straight with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. This will fend off those dredded lower-back pains.
  • Use a wrist rest for both the keyboard and mouse. This will help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, since it reduces tension on your wrists, allowing for better circulation.
  • Most impotantly, don't sit at your computer for more than 30 minutes at a time without getting up and stretching or walking around. Back bends are a great way to combat the slouched position many of us end up in after using the computer for awhile. Some gentle movements with your neck and wrists will also loosen up the tight muscles and help you avoid painful muscle cramps.
Remember, if your co-workers give you weird looks when you get up and stretch, don't be bothered. They won't be laughing when they have to wear a neck brace and wrist supports to work.

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