Healthy Computing: Vertically Challenged

Are you reaching up to a high keyboard? In order to sit correctly at the
keyboard are your feet dangling from a chair that is too high. Is your
chair so big that the backs of your calves touch the seat edge? By
making the furniture fit you instead of you fitting the furniture, you may
reduce tension and feel no longer VERTICALLY CHALLENGED.


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 that way because the keyboard is too high, then change your
keyboard height.

  • The best option is to lower the surface upon which the keyboard is
    sitting. Cut a few inches from the legs of the table or install an
    adjustable keyboard tray beneath the desktop (be sure it does not

  • 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 often work well). Raising your chair height often leads
    to dangling feet. Raise the floor level so that your feet can rest easily
    on that surface (telephone books make a good floor cover/footrest).

Regardless how you change the ergonomic situation, take charge and listen
to your own body. Check in with your body throughout the day to observe
unnecessary tension when typing and mousing. Become proactive! Stop your
shoulders from inching upward. 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), and get up from the desk and walk around.
Remember, human beings are made for movement and not immobility.

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for
personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing
Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written
consent of the copyright holders

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Written by Erik Peper PhD

Explore Wellness in 2021