October 1, 2013
Laptops are extremely convenient because of their portability, but they wreak havoc on your shoulders, neck, and back if you do not use them properly. If you find yourself just tossing your laptop down on any surface before typing away for hours, you should consider re-evaluating your situation.
We hear the word ergonomic thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? As an adjective, something is ergonomic when it has been designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort. As a noun, it relates to ergonomics, which is the relationship between workers and their environments, especially the equipment they use.
With regard to laptops, ergonomics fell to the bottom of the priority list behind screen resolution, battery power, size, and weight. The desktop was a much more ergonomic computing system, but unfortunately, they have become almost irrelevant over the past few years.
Instead of giving up completely, there are a few tricks you can use to emulate the desktop setup and start using your laptop the right way. Your body will thank you for the consideration.
Here is how you can make your laptop ergonomic to better fit your lifestyle:
Projector: Your laptop screen might be 1080p, but if it is smashed into a 15 inch display, everything will still be ridiculously small. If you can swing it, get a projector and throw your display up on a wall and give your eyes a break from the strain.
HDMI: Should the projector fall outside of your budget or you find yourself without the space, the good news is that most current laptops have an ‘HDMI out’ port. HDMI cables run pretty cheap in the right places and allow you to extend your display to any larger HDMI capable TV.
Docking station: If you have an old desktop monitor lurking around, hold on to it and put it to use. The relative height and position of a desktop monitor are easier on your body and a docking station can help your laptop mimic an old, familiar set up.
Elevate the laptop to eye level: We forget that our laptops generally sit about a foot below our eyes, forcing our necks into weird positions. If your laptop tends to be your go to machine for daily work, get a stand for it or simply throw some magazines underneath it: stop craning your neck.
Get a mouse and keyboard: The stock laptop mouse and keyboard are anything but convenient. Your hands spend thousands of hours a year typing and clicking; grab an ergonomically designed mouse and keyboard to alleviate the workload you dump on them.
Try a standing desk: Your lower back takes a heavy toll when you sit in a desk chair all day. By adding a standing workspace, your body will naturally elongate and not fall prey to slouching, shrugging, or craning.
Anti-reflective lenses: If you find that your eyes bear the burden when it comes to laptop computing, spring for specialty anti-reflective lenses. You can choose to go through a third-party retailer or get a prescription from your eye doctor to help reduce the glare and strain.
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