Sort Your Computer Furniture, Stay Fitter
Incorrect setup of computer furniture can cause strain and injury. This article outlines specific and general methods for correct arrangement of a PC workstation.
It's not hard to do especially when you consider that a bad computer furniture arrangement will, even in the short term:
- create and maintain a distorted or unhealthy posture while using the computer- give you inadequate lower back support, creating aches and pains later. - force you into staying in one position too long - another recipe for strain andmuscular tension.
- make you stretch bend and twist unecessarily.
So what features should your screen, desk, keyboard, mouse and chair have to keep you feeling good?Your monitor should:
- swivel, tilt and elevate- fit an extra adjustable stand to adjust the height if need be. Or replace it.
- be positioned so the top line of the monitor is not higher than your eyes or not lower than 20° below the horizon of your eyes or field of vision- be at the same level and near the document holder (if you use one).
- be between 20 to 25 inches (50-56 cm) away from your faceYour keyboard should :
- be detachable and adjustable (with legs to adjust the angle).
- allow your forearms to be parallel to the floor without having to raise your elbows.
- allow your wrists to be in line with your forearms so your wrists don’t have to be flexed up or down.
- include enough space to rest your wrists or should include a padded detachable wrist rest (or you can use a separate gel wrist rest which should be at least 2 inches (50 mm) deep.
- be placed directly in front of the monitor and at the same height as the mouse, track ball, touch pad, or any other pointing device.
The mouse or pointer device should :
- be close to the keyboard.
- allow you, (if possible), to use both left and right hands while handling the pointer/mouse.
Your computer chair should :
- support your back, and have a vertically adjustable independent back rest that returns to its original position, plus tilt adjustment to support your lower back.
- allow you to adjust its height while seated. - be adjusted so the back crease of the knee is slightly higher than the pan of the chair (use a suitable footrest, if required).
- be supported by a five prong caster base.
- have removable and adjustable armrests, if possible.
- have a contoured seat with breathable fabric and rounded edges to distribute the weight, and be adjustable to allow the seat pan to tilt forward or backThe table/desk should :
- provide ample leg room and be height adjustable (preferably).
- have enough room to support the computer equipment plus space for documents.
- be at least 36 inches (90 cm) deep.
- have rounded blunt and undamaged corners and edgesThis covers the basics of good computer furniture setup, but you can improve your protection by taking further standard precautions:
- Ensure each user maintains their own set up.
- Taking regular breaks from working at your computer for a few minutes, at least once an hour.
- Alternating work tasks by mixing computer tasks with non computer tasks to avoid strain.
- Learning and carrying out keyboard shortcuts to reduce mouse usage.
- Carrying out regular gentle stretching to relax your body. - Using health support equipment such as footrests, wrist/palm rests, and document holders if required- Adopting a NEUTRAL BODY POSTURE, with hands, wrists, and forearms inline, straight, and almost parallel to the floor, body facing forward, shoulders relaxed,elbows close to body and bent approximately at right angles.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Madigan lives in the UK, has a continual interest in healthy computing, and has recently published a unique detailed guide on avoiding the ways computing can harm you at:http://www.m1mart.co.ukA stress- busting audio/text exercise ebook, plus a large and growing number of articles on staying fitter at your PC, can also be downloaded at no cost from this site.