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Many of us work in an office or behind a desk or at a computer of some kind, but do we ever wonder what the proper posture for typing is? I would say that many of us do not, I certainly didn’t before I really got into ergonomics.
However after extensive research about the ways in which I could reduce back pain while at a computer, I came across the question of how to improve typing position and make it economical.
For some reason, I could not find a specific answer, but instead many different pages of information on varying subjects. Some of them were very in-depth but too dry and scientific while others were way, way too basic to give a full description of the best ergonomic typing position.
I will begin by talking about why a good typing position is so important, and why the position you type in can seriously affect your health as well as reduce your productivity.
I will then go on to how good some ergonomic office equipment can help you to improve your typing posture.
I conclude with a brief description of how finding the best comfortable typing position helped me massively by improving many aspects of my life including workflow and even giving me more imagination due to increased blood flow to my brain, (I think it is because of this, but the point is that I really found myself thinking more deeply and laterally about many different subjects, helping me to work better and faster.)
Why is The Proper Posture For Typing so Important?
Typing position is very important for our health for a number of different reasons which I will detail below:
- Many of us work full time at a computer and as a result, we type a lot.
- Even if we are not at a computer typing for our work, many of us still use computers at home for social or other reasons.
- Typing is a really ingrained part of many people’s lives.
- An incorrect typing posture can cause many different acute and chronic health issues including (list not exhaustive):
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Neck strain
- Tennis elbow (sounds weird I know but check out here to find out about tennis elbow)
There are really many, many more reasons why finding the best position for typing is so important; including improved blood circulation, more comfort, less back and neck pain and much more.
You can find out why good ergonomics is so vitally important for our health here.
What is the Correct Position on the Computer then?
To find the best typing position, you first have to think about what the best sitting position is. I know some of you reading this will be thinking that you just plop your bum down a chair and be done with it! But as it seems with everything else in life, it is more complicated than that.
A proper sitting posture at your office workstation or home office involves relaxing your shoulders, placing your feet flat on the ground, and making sure you are consciously thinking all the time about sitting up straight.
Sitting up straight is also a bit of a tricky thing to do properly, but you must involve your core and keep the trunk of your body in a good comfortable position.
Ergonomic chairs actually help to take some of the work out of this by having the correct posture for your body to slip into, letting you focus more on your work.
You must adjust your chair every time you sit down, (unless you decide on a high-quality comfortable office chair like Steelcase Leap Plus Chair) so that you can set the correct height in order to rest your feet flat on the floor.
Keep your feet supported on the floor or on an ergonomic footrest to reduce pressure on your lower back.
However if you are in pain now and in need of a footrest straight away, you can always use a sturdy box to raise your feet until you invest in a proper one, (but a real one is highly recommended).
If your chair allows you to recline slightly, you should consider doing this to take some pressure off your back. If you do this though, you must make sure to move in closer to your desk in order to not put undue strain on your shoulders and neck when reaching for anything!
For me, I have found that reclining ever so slightly really takes some pressure off and gives a bit more freedom to type and just get on with work without having to think about my posture constantly. However, if you do not have a comfortable office chair or otherwise, you will really have to make sure you are sitting correctly.
Armrests for Flush Ability
There is a pretty important factor about chairs that many people ignore, but one that has quite a large impact on how comfortable you are. I am talking about the armrests!
If you have decided to treat yourself to a safe workstation or desk, you will find that the keyboard or writing section should be low enough to sit flush with your armrests.
You should make sure that they allow your elbows to stay close to your sides so you can rest your elbows on them whilst you type. This should take the strain off your wrists and help to alleviate some of the more common compression injuries associated with typing.
Even if you absolutely do not like resting your elbows on your armrests and decide to move them out of your way, it is still important to keep your arms close to your sides to maintain a proper posture for typing.
An Ergonomic Desk for Maximum Comfort
A computer keyboard and keyboard tray that allows you to type unhindered is a major factor when trying to find the best typing position.
Your keyboard should be at a height that allows your elbows to be bent about 90 degrees and close to your sides.
If you look at the image to the right, you will see that the lady’s arms are almost perpendicular to the keyboard which means no compression of nerves or squashing of elbows or weird wrist angles.
Many keyboards and keyboard trays have wrist supports to help your wrists to stay in a more neutral and comfortable position. However, wrist pads are not the be-all and end-all of the comfortable workstations and certainly do not help in the long term as I will explain below.
You should not really be using a keyboard or mouse rest when working, just so you can pause and take a small break.
However, some people actually find the pads helpful when using their keyboard or mouse so for a matter such as this, I would leave it up to personal preference.
I personally do not use any kind of pad when typing or using a mouse because I have found that with the correct usable office tools, I have been able to negate the problems of poor typing posture completely due to clever design.
How an Ergonomic Chair Helped me Get into a Better Position for Typing
As you have read by now, getting a comfortable typing position is not as easy as just buying a random desk, or an ergonomic keyboard or mouse or chair, rather it is a mixture of all these separate things.
I will be honest with you right now.
Deciding to purchase lots of new healthy equipment all in one go can become pretty expensive, pretty fast, and not something I would recommend doing, unless you want to and can afford it all.
However, the one product that I would always recommend to everyone, is to invest in a decent ergonomic chair.
These do not have to be expensive and you can actually get some really amazing, affordable chairs.
So, What is a Good Computer Chair?
Well, I can only speak from my personal experience, but I purchased a comfortable chair well before buying a desk. I had already bought a Logitech Wireless Wave Combo Mk550 With Keyboard and Laser Mouse, which really do wonders for the wrists and hands.
However, I was still finding that I experiencing some discomfort and decided to take the plunge to buy an ergonomic chair with all the bells and whistles and a decent amount of adjustment options (very important to consider).
I found that after buying this chair, I felt an immediate increase and comfort as well as productivity.
I did not have to get up to stretch and walk around as often as I used to do and was really happy for sitting for long periods of time.
Don’t get me wrong, it is still important to get up and stretch and walk about at set intervals (I will write a post about just how dangerous sitting for long periods can be), but With a decent chair, you can stay that little bit longer without feeling so horrid and lethargic.
Computer desk ergonomics can be a tricky thing to understand and can really start to get expensive when you add on more options such as electronic adjustments etc.
However, a comfortable chair is an investment that will last you a long time if you do your research and buy a decent one.
You can also bring your new office chair into work without looking so odd; can you say that for an entire desk!?
Finding the best and efficient typing position is not just something that you should consider because you are already experiencing pain or discomfort, but should be considered as a proactive measure against future problems.
As I keep saying throughout these articles I write, I want to be honest and want to remain honest so that you can feel as though you trust what I write and hopefully I can help some people.
Throughout this article, there are numerous links to amazon from which I would receive a small commission if you were to buy that product.
These are only products that I either use myself, want to get, or have researched in the past and just never got around to investing in them.
All of the products are useful to you and will help you, but if you are short on money or just do not want to purchase anything then a comfortable typing position can definitely be achieved with the things you have.
If you think of it like a car and a bicycle. A car will get you there quicker and in comfort, but a bicycle will still get you to your destination.
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