How to Work Properly at the Computer?

Inadequate sitting when sitting in front of a computer can endanger your health!

We spend most of our lives sitting, especially in this age of computers, so it is important to learn how to sit properly.  One of the most common mistakes we make when we sit down is trying to sit in the middle of a chair.

Nowadays, we spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer or TV – an activity through which poor posture can affect overall health.

When it comes to health, proper posture is a top priority.  It is as important as proper nutrition, exercise or quality sleep.  Unnatural posture can cause pain in neck, shoulders, back and headaches, and negatively affect functioning of the digestive, nervous, pulmonary and cardiovascular systems.  Over time, such persons have pronounced nervousness and lack of attention, which consequently lead to a disturbance of concentration, and those certainly cause a decrease in our working abilities and performance.

At this moment, people spend more time in front of computers than 20 years ago.  Here are some tips on how to behave properly in front of a computer at work, school or at home:

1. Support your back

Does the chair – you are sitting on – support your lumbar spine enough?  The armchair should follow the natural line of your back, especially the lower part, filling the gap between the back and the armchair.  This helps you avoid putting extra pressure on your spine and maintaining proper sitting posture.

Adequate lower back support helps prevent muscle fatigue, which with many people causes the head and upper back to tilt too far forward or lower and hunchback.  With good support of the lower back, the back muscles around the spine are relaxed, and the spine can be upright, in a natural position.

2. Comfortable foot position

For greater comfort, put all the things under the table so that you can move your legs without difficulty.  The feet should be on the floor or on the footstool.

3. At your fingertips

Sit close enough to the keyboard to prevent stretching, but still far enough to avoid crouched over.  Keep objects that you use often as close to your body as possible.

4. Relaxed shoulders and arms

Position the keyboard and mouse so that they are at elbow height.  The shoulders should be relaxed, the head upright, and the arms placed next to the body.  As you type, place the keyboard in the middle in front of you, with the mouse nearby.

5. Position of hand and fingers

Keep your wrist straight while typing or using the mouse.  Avoid bending your joints up, down or to the side.  Adjust the position of the keyboard so that the position of your wrist is comfortable and flat.  Type with your hands and wrists raised above the keyboard, so you can use your whole hand to reach for more distant keys, instead of stretching your fingers.  Keep your fingers relaxed as you type or use the mouse.

Avoid holding a pen or anything else in your hands while typing or using a mouse.  In the breaks between writing, relax your fingers and hands by placing them on a flat surface.

Gently hold the mouse, and when moving, use the whole hand, not just the wrist.  Choose a mouse that fits the size and shape of your fist to reduce joint strain.

6. Reduce tilting and turning the neck

Place the screen directly in front of you.  If you use documents more often than the keyboard when working, place them directly in front of you and place the monitor slightly to the side.

To properly position the screen, sit comfortably in a chair, close your eyes and relax.  Then open them slowly.  Place the centre of the screen where your gaze is directed first.  If necessary, raise the screen on a stand or place it with books.

7. Take a short break, take breaks often

A break helps your body recover from some activity.  The length and frequency of your breaks depend on the type of work you are doing.  Stopping work and relaxing is one form of break, but there are other ways.  For example, just change the task you are doing: instead of sitting, get up while on the phone, because it can help some muscles relax, while others will be active. Remember to do a couple of light exercises during the break, always starting with stretching.  It will help if you slightly move your head sideways to one side and then to the other alternately, as well as a slight detachment of the arms to fully open the chest.  Also rotate the whole back alternately to one side and then to the other.  Get in the habit of starting to exercise in a sitting position to ease the effort you make sitting in one position for a long time with your back.

Poor posture, such as „hunchback“, while sitting in front of a computer, combined with weak abdominal muscles, can lead to abnormal curvature of the spine.  This bent shape slowly stretches the dorsal ligaments and over time, the spinal discs degenerate.  In the beginning, the pain disappears as soon as you get up and take a short walk, but after a few months, the pain does not stop as long as you walk.  Improve your posture and remember that a healthy lifestyle can help you with everyday tasks, including the time you spend in front of the computer.

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