Ergonomics

I’m spending a lot of time interacting with a computer which is risky business for my health. Naturally, I want to follow the best practices.

No flickering

My eyes are super sensitive to PWM regulated backlights, so none of my devices flicker – monitors, laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, lights, etc. This post discusses those issues.

Sitting position

Check out this excellent article. The picture was taken from there.

I follow the general advice for 90 degrees knee angle and slightly more for my elbows.

The top bezel of my monitor is roughly on the level of my eyes when I’m looking forward. It’s a common mistake to place the monitor too high and to tilt your head backward. The right position is ~20 degrees below and the monitor itself tilted upwards.

Chair

I went to a local ergonomic chairs showroom and spent 2 hours there. After carefully trying more than 15 models from various manufacturers in various use cases, I settled on Ergohuman Mesh. It has infinite adjustment abilities, supports my body very well and the mesh provides excellent ventilation. I’m personally not one of those people who can stand leather chairs, especially in the summer. I also try to keep my back as straight as possible.

Having a leg rest is also a good idea. Sometimes I’m using it actively and sometimes I forget about it. Is a nice thing to have as changing seating position often is probably best for your health anyway.

Fitness Ball

Besides my chair, I have a fitness ball. It helps to keep my back straight and requires keeping balance which forces many muscles to work while sitting “stationary”.

Standing desk

A standing desk is the last piece of the puzzle. I’ve experimented with various approaches, but undeniably the best one is an electric motor controlled one with a wide adjustment range.

Alternating between sitting on the chair, on the fitness ball and working while standing is the approach I use on a daily basis.

Keyboard and mouse

My choice is Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop Keyboard & Mouse. I love it and would never ever go back to a traditional set.

The combination of my desk and chair height keeps my wrists straight, which is also very important to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

Blinking often

It is very important to blink often while you are working in front of a computer screen. Unfortunately subconsciously we slow down our blinking rate dramatically and dry eye symptoms can become a real problem.

My solution is the excellent Eyeblink software. I was one of the first beta testers since the very early builds and I’m loving it! Eyeblink uses my (very good) web camera to monitor my blinking rate. If it slows down below a predefined threshold, it reminds me to blink! It also reminds me to take small breaks as well as longer ones, so I don’t have to use another program for this important part.

This training has a huge effect on me. As this reminder fires tens to hundreds of times during the day, my brain gets trained to blink more often subconsciously. I’ve never had dry eye problems (except during the spring because of an allergy) for years!

Take a look at this post if you have problems with your eyes.

Taking a rest

Eyeblink reminds me to take a rest, but there are countless programs that do that. My favorite for Windows was EyeLeo some years ago.

Stretching your neck, back, arms and legs and even doing some quick yoga is an excellent idea. I try to do this every 1 to 2 hours. Nothing is worse for your body than staying in the same position for hours.

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