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Ergonomics and Healthy Computing - Positioning Your Body For Maximum Comfort At Your Computer

Do you remember the old saw about how computers would change our lives for the better? We'd have more time to ourselves and lead healthier, happier lives. The truth is computers do make processing information lightening fast. It's just that today, we have so much more information to process and so many more distractions that the computer, via the Internet, has brought into our lives.

The bottom line? Today we spend more time operating a computer (for fun and for profit) than on any other single pastime save for maybe sleeping. And if you're a heavy computer user like me, even sleep takes a back seat to computer use every now and then.

There are health hazards to continual computer use. Personally I've suffered from back and shoulder pain, eye strain and numbness in my fingers. I've even had to deal with stiff joints and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. None of this was any fun.

But I did learn a few things important enough to pass along to you today. Here are some things you can do right now to reduce or eliminate stress on our body while operating your computer.

The Concept of Neutral Body Positioning

Consider a comfortable working posture with a natural alignment of all your joints from head to toe. This method of neutral positioning helps you reduce the stress and strain on your muscles, tendons, and skeletal system thus reducing the risks of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

Some Quick Tips - Body Posture

Your hands, wrists, and forearms should all be in a row, straight, and almost parallel to the floor.

Your head and torso should be in-line with your head slightly bent forward, facing forward, and balanced.

Your shoulders should be at ease with your upper arms hanging normally at the sides of your body.

Your elbows should be close to your body and bent between 90 and 110 degrees.

Your feet should be either supported by a footrest or should be relaxing on the floor.

While leaning back or sitting in a vertical position, make sure your lower back is fully supported.

Your hips and thighs should be supported by a well-padded seat.

Your knees and hips should be at almost the same height as your feet and slightly forward.

More Tips - Your Work Environment

Readjust your chair and backrest at regular intervals.

Periodically stretch your fingers, hands, arms, and torso.

Your keyboard, monitor, and your posture should be on a straight line to avoid any positional discomforts.

Always adjust your chair so you're looking down at the screen, never up.

Your desktop should be at a convenient height with enough space for your equipment and the day's work.

Your chair should give good back support and allow for height adjustment.

Your keyboard and the mouse mat should have a good wrist-rest.

A document holder placed at the height of your monitor will eliminate neck strain.

Roger Williams is a Web designer and copywriter who spends endless hours on his computer. He has learned through much research how to eliminate the physical stress of heavy computer use.

If you want more health tips for computer users, visit http://www.meandmymouse.com/hc

In The News:

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Researchers have found rocks on a small island between Madagascar and the eastern coast of Africa, a discovery that has been described as mysterious for one very important reason — they shouldn't be there.
David Bowie sang about his sci-fi persona Ziggy Stardust performing with the Spiders from Mars, and now it turns out there's a "spider" on Mars after all.
Lindley Johnson, a planetary defense officer for NASA, told the BBC on Sunday that an historic asteroid exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere in December that had 10 times the energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Fans of April the Giraffe can rejoice because the well-known animal welcomed a baby boy into the world on Saturday, park officials said.
A 19th-century penny that miraculously saved the life of a British World War I soldier is set to go up for auction next week.
White-armored Stormtroopers in the "Star Wars" movies are practically identical and nearly impossible to tell apart.

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