Desk-job pitfalls: how to stay healthy at the computer
Repetitive strain injury (RSI), eyesight issues, and back and neck problems are unfortunate side effects of long hours in front of the computer.
Don’t rely on someone else to take care of the ergonomics of your workspace – involve yourself in the process. Everyone’s body is different and everyone uses their desk differently.
Here’s what you can do to make your workstation healthier.
Manage your mouse
- Go cordless! It allows free range of movement. (A cordless keyboard is a good idea too.)
- Make sure that you’re not overextending your arm.
- Try learning to use your mouse with your other hand. Switch the left and right click buttons around in settings.
- School up on keyboard shortcuts so you don’t have to use your mouse as much.
- Because computer work can affect your long-distance vision, take a break each hour to refocus your eyes.
- Air-conditioning and staring at the screen can dry your eyes. Regular breaks outside will help with this, but invest in some lubricating eye drops if you need to.
- Visit an optometrist annually.
Perfect your posture
- Your chair should be on rollers and shouldn’t have armrests. Your feet should touch the ground (or a non-slip foot stool if necessary); your lower back should touch the back rest; and your forearms should be horizontal on the keyboard and at 90 degrees to your upper arms.
- Your monitor should be at eye level. If you have a laptop, plug it into a monitor and use a cordless keyboard and mouse.
- Consider a sit/stand desk.
- Get up and stretch regularly.
Remember the big picture
- Give your body good fuel. Nutritious food will give you the energy and mental clarity you need to do your best work.
- Incorporating exercise into your work week keeps you fit and helps combat stress.
Need more advice or treatment? Contact us.