Healthy Computing: Laptopitis

Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with
Healthy Computing Email Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay
healthier while working.


“Can’t you leave the computer at work instead of being married to it and
taking it on our vacation?” is no longer an uncommon complaint. The
ubiquitous laptop is used at work, in subways, planes, cars and on the
kitchen table, writing desk and sometimes even in bed. In the constant use
of the laptop, we often collapse to see the screen or place our hands at
incorrect heights. Presently more laptops are sold than desktops. Optimize
the ergonomic environment and reduce LAPTOPITIS.

HOW TO REDUCE LAPTOPITIS:

Optimize the ergonomic set up and check your angles.

  • Are your hands too high because the laptop is on a kitchen table or
    regular desk? Raise your seat so that your elbows are in a 85-110 degree range and
    your writs are level (e.g., sit on a pillow).

  • Are you tilting your head down to read the screen?
    Look down with your eyes while holding your head slightly more
    erect. Take every opportunity not to look at the screen while you
    work. Move and rotate your head from side to side and back and forth.
    Curl and uncurl your spine by gently arching and rounding your back
    and neck.

  • Use a laptop stand for convenience (see http://www.backshop.nl) with an
    external split keyboard (see http://www.goldtouch.com), mouse, trackball or
    track pad.

  • Use a docking station for ease of use and/or use an external monitor
    that can be adjust to the correct height: the top of the screen is at
    eyebrow level.

Practice micro- and large movement breaks.

  • Move your head, neck and back every 15 minutes (e.g., imagine a pointer
    at the top of your head and draw figure “8” on the ceiling while
    relaxing your shoulders and continuing to breath).

  • Relax your shoulders and arms every minute (e.g., drop your hands to
    your laps after hitting return and then continue to type).

  • Install a reminder program, such as “Stretch Break” (see
    http://www.paratec.com).

  • Implement all of the Healthy Computing Email Tips.
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Erik Peper PhD Written by Erik Peper PhD

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