How to Sit in front of your Computer and Stay Alive
Some Health Tips
Sitting in front of the computer and screen is not an ideal position for long periods of time. Your joints become rigid and immovable, your visual field diminishes to allow “optimal” screen gazing, and, finally, while working on the computer, thousand small repetitive movements create stress on the palms tissue, leading to substantial potential future damages. By listening to ourselves and increasing our consciousness to the way we move our body, we can turn sitting into a dynamic and non-harmful position. The following article relies on the knowledge and logic of the Feldenkrais method – a method that aims to increase consciousness towards the quality and nature of our movements; it focuses on learning and improvement through movement, encouraging us to listen to our body in order to discover new, more comfortable, movements. Once you learn how to listen, new movement possibilities of motor-functional freedom unfold.
Choosing your chair
It is important that your chair will be comfortable and allow your hand to lay with ease on the keyboard; make sure that the chair does not force your elbows and shoulders to rise in an strenuous angle, causing tensions in your shoulder and neck and influencing your entire body.
Adjusting your screen
It is important that the screen will be at average height – not to low or high. If not properly adjusted, your neck will be fixed in a position that unnecessarily strains your chest, shoulders and eyes.
Working with the keyboard and mouse
The repetitive movements of holding and moving the mouse can cause deep injuries, throughout the years, in the palm’s tissues and nerves, neck injuries and other injuries that are influenced by the repetitiveness of the action. Do not lean your hands on a mouse-pad while you type, and do not use any angled-keyboard or other gadgets that might lead to an angled position of your wrists. While you type, your hands should lightly float above the keyboard leaving your shoulders and back free to move. If you are forced to uplift your chair so that your hands lay effortlessly while your shoulders are relaxed, your pelvic will be higher than your knees; put a stool or a pile of books to lift your feet. If you do not own an adjustable chair, you can sit on a pillow or a book (firmer pillows are better since they allow both support and a sense of your body’s weight on your sitting bones or the spine).
If possible, work with bare feet; it will allow you to feel the floor and the different weight and pressure each movement activates upon your feet.
- From time to time, browse your surroundings; sole-focus on your screen, without noticing the background can lead to destructive stress on your spine.
- Make sure to lean backwards on occasion; close your eyes and gently cover them with your palms (do not touch your eyes); imagine how you paint the darkness you now see in more pleasant colors; listen to your breaths; notice how air enters your lungs and how breathing moves your chest and back; finally, listen to your eyes and facial muscles, allowing them to fully relax.
- Lean forward so that your back does not lean on the backrest. Gently roll your pelvic forward, in slow and small movements; feel how weight is gradually transferred to the front of your sitting bones. Similarly, roll your pelvic backwards; feel how your back lightly curls at more weight is carried to the back part of your sitting bones. Notice how your spinal vertebrae participate and move along; pay further attention to your chest and back at movement runs through them, towards the head, lengthening and condensing the back in the process.
- Sit on the edge of your chair; place your feet on the floor, shoulder apart, in a comfortable place where your knees can easily move to the sides. Places your hands on your hips and slowly tilt your knees to the sides; let your mind and body follow your knees. It is possible to combine the previous exercise so that as you tilt to the right, you roll your pelvic forward and so on.
- Repeat the previous exercise, yet gaze in the opposite direction to the one your knees tilt towards.
- Take a small towel, roll it into a small cylinder and place it under your sitting bone so that your pelvic slightly tilts forward and the pressure on your spinal vertebrae decreases. Additionally, such position slightly pushes the back and upper torso to an upright sitting position, without causing any pressure, refuting the need for a backrest. From time to time, lean backwards, letting your back lean fully and comfortably against the backrest.
* It is not necessary to do all six exercises in one time. You can choose one exercise and gently repeat it. Note that it is important not to regard any movement depicted here mechanically. Rather, be attentive to your breathing, to the changes in the relation between the organs – as they slowly move and change place; notice the weight distribution on your feet and sitting bones; be attuned to the movement as it travels through your spinal vertebrae towards your thighs and legs.
Most importantly – enjoy!