Healthy Computing: Correct Height

Is your keyboard still on top of your desk? Do you work with your laptop
on a table? Do you reach up to type while your shoulders creep up and
your neck and back tense? The muscle tension in your shoulders usually
increases when the keyboard is at the incorrect height. Therefore, reduce
your tension by placing your keyboard at the CORRECT HEIGHT.

HOW TO ATTAIN THE CORRECT HEIGHT:

Begin by checking your position at the keyboard. Let your upper arms hang
straight down, bend your elbows at about 90 to 110 degrees, and keep your
forearms and wrists level as you extend your fingers to the keyboard. If
you cannot sit this way because the keyboard is too high, then change your
keyboard height.

  • If possible lower the surface upon which the keyboard is sitting (e.g.,
    reduce the table height (cut a few inches from the legs of the table) or
    install an adjustable keyboard tray beneath the desktop.

  • Raise the height of your body so that your arms are in the correct
    position. Usually this requires raising the height of the seat of your
    chair (pillows can often work as well). It often means that now your
    feet cannot reach the floor. This problem may partially be resolved with
    a footrest.

Check in with your body throughout the day to observe unnecessary tension
when typing and mousing. Stop your shoulders from inching upwards. Relax
your neck, shoulders and arms. Integrate breaks and movements into your
computing routine by taking micro-breaks every minute (e.g., drop your
hands to your lap at every opportunity, such as at the end of a paragraph
or when waiting for the computer to process your input).

Copyright 2002 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney

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Erik Peper PhD Written by Erik Peper PhD

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