For office workers, your typing posture may not seem like a big deal. If it's not causing active discomfort, then why try to change it? But the little things that feel comfortable now, like slouching and leaning, are causing more damage than you think in the long-term.
On the other hand, good typing posture may feel a little stiff or unnatural. Feet on the floor, head up, eyes forward all sound like things you didn't want to do in school. But building these good habits now will make you more productive at work and help you feel better during your time off.
Why Improve Your Typing Posture
Spending all day at a desk isn't fun by any measure, but the more you do it, the more it can start to affect your body. By sitting and putting weight or pressure on parts of your body that were never meant to take it, you can accumulate aches and pains. So if you find yourself at a desk job, your typing posture matters.
Fortunately, there are some pretty simple fixes to help make your typing posture more comfortable. Just by making some small adjustments, you can feel better at the end of your workday!
How working at a desk affects your posture
If you're at a desk all day, it can be hard always to be conscious of your typing posture. It's easy to slouch and hunch your back, which puts stress on your shoulders and neck. But poor typing posture can affect your body in ways you might not expect.
One common mistake you might make in your posture is leaning your neck and head in front of your chest. By doing this, you put stress on the muscles in your upper neck, causing headaches. It can also restrict blood flow from your neck and chest to your arms, causing tingling and numbness, or thoracic outlet syndrome.
Your poor typing posture can have adverse physical effects over a long time. Spending years hunched over your computer, you'll increase your risk of developing arthritis. Surprisingly, it can also change your digestion, and no one wants to add tummy troubles onto their list of worries!
You may not realize it, but poor typing posture can also detract from your mental health. Good posture helps you feel more confident, and the same goes when you're sitting at a desk. Your body has to work harder to keep you upright in poor posture as well, which means you may end up sleeping better if you correct how you're sitting.
From your joints to your blood vessels, your typing posture stays with you long after you head home from the office. You owe it to yourself to change up the way you work.
The Best Tips for Improving Your Typing Posture
Fortunately, there are a wealth of ways to stave off these detriments just by having better posture. While some of it can tie back to you remembering to sit better, there are a lot of hacks that make good typing posture a natural process.
It doesn't take much to make your workspace less likely to give you headaches, digestion issues, joint pain, and fatigue. And with all of those hanging over your head, why not make a change?
The eyes have it
Your computer monitor is where most of your attention goes throughout the day. As a result, you must make it as comfortable to see as possible, and easy on the eyes at that.
The first step for your monitor is to position it an arm's length away, at or slightly below eye level. This positioning lets you sit with your head in a relaxed state, so you won't get fatigued from holding your head at an odd angle. You may not notice it, but your body will over time.
As long as you have your head in a comfortable place, monitor comfort is all about your eyes. Bigger monitors should be farther away from you, so everything is in an easy-to-see arc. It's also essential to make sure you don't look at the screen for too long.
The rule of twenties
Typing posture isn't all about joints and muscles. Your eyes need to rest too. To limit eye strain, follow the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to rest and reset regularly.
Twenty minutes is a good rule of thumb all around. After 20 minutes of typing, make sure to stand up and move around. Grab some water, go to the bathroom, or say hi to the person in the next cubicle. This gives different muscles in your spine a chance to engage and gives the muscles in your arms a chance to relax from typing.
Hands-on for better posture
If you've ever spent all day on a computer, it won't surprise you to learn that where you place your hands is central to good typing posture. Where you place your keyboard and mouse can do lasting harm to your hands and wrists. Since you spend a lot of time typing, that's the last thing you want!
First off, your keyboard and mouse should be close together and on the same surface. Keep your keyboard between 4 and 6 inches away, and directly between you and the screen. The goal here is to sit with a neutral posture, with everything from your eyes to your feet at rest. So, everything on your desk needs to be in a place where it is easy to reach and won't cause stress.
A good mousepad can help keep everything level and makes it easier to move your mouse freely. This means you will spend less time trying to get the mouse where you want it, keeping your hands in a comfortable place.
Sit or stand
One factor of where your hands rest in typing posture is how high your desk is. If it's too high or too low, everything could be out of alignment. You won't be able to hold your elbows at 90 degrees if this is the case.
Of course, adjusting your desk might not be the easiest thing to do, so it comes down to the chair. Pick an office chair that lets you sit in a natural position with your feet flat on the ground. If you need to adjust the chair so your monitor is at eye level and arms rest comfortably, find a footrest to keep your feet supported.
Speaking of feet, be sure to keep your feet comfortably planted on the ground. Moving them can harm your posture, putting uneven pressure on your pelvis and spine. Having the best office chair cushion could help you sit comfortably, especially if this is new for you.
You may find a way to adjust if you have a standing desk. Standing desks are an easy way to readjust your typing posture, engage new muscles, and ward off some of the long-lasting health effects of being seated all day. If you start standing every 20 minutes, you may want to try working as you do.
A standing desk doesn't have to replace your current fixture, as a desktop stand works just as well. Your typing posture while standing won't automatically be perfect, so don't assume your problems will disappear. But it will have you thinking about your posture, engaging different muscles, and keeping things fresh at your workplace.
Fixing the effects of poor posture
Long-lasting poor posture can have serious and notable impact on your physique. Leaning your head forward 3 inches past your shoulders puts 42 pounds of pressure on your back! Imagine doing work all day while also holding onto an Olympic barbell. Are you still wondering why your back is locked up?
You may notice your shoulders rounding forward or your back hunching. If this has happened to you, it'll be quite a bit harder to start having better typing posture. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises that will help your muscles stretch and relax.
One of the most common afflictions, rounded shoulders, comes from sitting poorly. If this is you, try doing chest stretches. You can do them on any doorway, holding your arm at a right angle against the wall. Then, push your chest forward until you feel a stretch.
If your problems are in your neck, you can also try chin tucks. Roll your shoulders back and down, then gently lean your neck backward and push your chin in. This can help if your neck is stiff and causes your head to jut forward.
Should your stiffness persist, know that there are plenty more exercises that will release tension in your muscles while strengthening them at the same time. Speak with your doctor or personal trainer about what you can do to work these muscles and prevent more tension.
Fix Your Typing Posture for a Healthier and Happier Workspace
Fixing your typing posture may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. All it requires is a few conscious choices about how your workspace is set up.
Right now, making a change might seem difficult. If you like to tuck one foot under you, for example, even sitting with both feet on the floor may be a challenge. But these tiny lifestyle changes will have an outsized impact further down the road. Whether your last day at an office job is in a month or a few decades, you'll be thankful you took those steps.
How do you make your workspace more comfortable? Are there any tips we missed? Comment below and let us know!