We're getting the ball rolling on our "resolutionary" new year — and no, we're not talking about super-high-resolution Retina Display gadgets. All month long, we'll be challenging ourselves to better protect and use our tech. First up: ergonomic accessories that promote more natural typing, scrolling, and viewing, and less neck, wrist, and eye strain. Take a look at these essential accessories for tech ergonomics and let us know what you resolve to do with your gadgets in 2013.
Companies know that peering down to play or work on a tablet can cause back and neck strain, so now they're rolling out ergonomic stands for the iPad. Whether your tablet of choice is Android- or iOS-based, Flote Tablet Stand ($270) works as a floor or bed stand and is designed to bend and move to meet your ergonomic needs.
The stand has a sleek design, complementing Apple's simple aesthetic, and is easy to bend and move into different directions and angles. Sure, it has a shocking price tag, but it could save you hundreds in chiropractor bills. What do you think about the Flote?
You might not be able to swing a professional ergonomic evaluation, but you can make simple changes to your desk environment to sit up a little bit straighter and avoid neck, wrist, and back strains. While ergonomics is about proper seating position, it also includes common habits you might be unaware of, like your line of sight toward a computer screen and how you type. Try out these adjustments to your work space and your moving habits, and tell us if you notice the difference.
- To sit ergonomically, your knees and ankles and shoulders to wrists should be positioned in 90-degree angles to your keyboard. If you are on the shorter side, keep a footrest underneath your desk, so your feet aren't dangling. Your back should remain neutral, with something supporting your lumbar spine. Here's a helpful diagram of correct sitting and typing ergonomics.
- Keep your keyboard, mouse, and phone within your forearm's length. When you are typing or clicking on your mouse, your wrists should be in a neutral position (not angled up or down) and up in the air rather than rested on the table or on a squishy "wrist support." Resting your wrists actually places greater strain on the sensitive tendons. Also, your elbows should remain close to your body throughout the day.
We tend to be hunched over while looking at our smartphones and laptops, but have you ever considered the damage you're doing to your neck and back while playing with your iPad? A new Harvard study shows the neck strain accumulated from hovering over your tablet. Rather than looking down to read or watch your stories, here are five ergonomic stands to keep your neck neutral and free of injury.
I hear people complain about carpal tunnel syndrome, mostly from musicians and people who work on computers non-stop all day. But what exactly is happening to cause the pain and tingly sensation?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This nerve controls sensations to the palm side of your thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand which houses the median nerve and tendons.
Some people are more prone to this because they have a smaller carpel tunnel. And for this reason, women are 3 times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also be caused by an injury, fluid retention during pregnancy, or repetitive motions, like using a mouse.
If you work with a computer all day, Then read more
Researchers are not saying we should write off ergonomics completely, but exercise seems to be key to keeping the pain at bay. Rehabilitative exercise, endurance training (yep, getting your heart rate up), stretching and strength training all had positive effects on folks with pain caused from working long hours at the computer. Sound familiar?
Be sure to get up from your computer at least once an hour and move around and/or stretch. If you have trouble remembering that you have a body, you should check out MacBreakZ. It's a software program that reminds you to stretch. How great is that, it turns your injury creating nemesis into your coach.
Did you know that raking leaves for 30 minutes burns about 150 calories, depending on your weight and how vigorously you rake? If you hate raking leaves, just remember you're also burning calories - so why not make the most of it?
Be sure to take care of your back while you bag all those leaves. Don't round your lower back as you move your piles into bags. Bend from your hips and stick your booty out. This will not only work your glutes (like a squat), but it will also protect your lower spine. And while you're at it, why not use your deep abs too?