Poor posture can lead to chronic pain and other health problems for those who spend many hours typing at the keyboard. It can also create issues with appearance and confidence – and even adversely affect work performance, as studies have shown that people with poor posture type fewer words per minute. Here’s how to maintain proper typing posture to boost productivity, prevent pain and avoid long-term overuse injuries.
- What does proper typing posture mean?
- Desk typing VS laptop typing
- Benefits of proper typing posture
- Risks of poor typing posture
- Tips for correct posture when typing
What does proper typing posture mean?
Good typing posture begins with proper sitting posture and involves your entire body:
Spine, head, neck and shoulders
- Neutral head position (ears directly over your shoulders)
- Chest expanded and tummy tucked
- Shoulder blades retracted
- Chin parallel to the floor
- Eyes level with the top of your screen
Arms, wrists, hands and fingers
- Elbows at 90-degree angles
- Wrists in a comfortable, neutral position
- Hands hovered over keyboard, not resting on it
- Fingers curled over keys
Legs and feet
- Hips and knees at 90-degree angles (unless typing at a standing desk)
- Thighs parallel to the floor
- Feet flat on the floor
Keep in mind your sitting posture can affect your wrist, hand, and finger posture, so it’s important to be mindful of your positioning to avoid pain and overuse injuries.
“Ergonomics is critical. Everything should be at about 90 degrees. If the ergonomics get thrown off, there’s too much extension, and the muscles get microscopic tears,” says Dr. Mike Hollern, chiropractor and owner of Hollern Chiropractic Spine & Disc in Louisville, Kentucky.
That doesn’t mean you should remain rigidly in “perfect” posture all day. Rather, the above should be regarded as general guidelines for your “home” position. The best posture is dynamic, which emphasizes movement and means you regularly adjust so your body isn’t in one position for too long.
Desk typing VS laptop typing
Laptops generally aren’t good for typing posture. If you hold them in your lap, you’re constantly looking down, which could result in forward head posture and painful tech neck. Even on a desk or table, the monitor is lower than eye level, so you must crane your neck downward as you type.
Over time, these poor ergonomics could lead to chronic pain or even conditions such as kyphosis and hunchback.
“When your head is forward, you can get microscopic tears in the muscle of the neck. It’s an overstrain,” says Dr. Hollern. “Make sure you’re sitting ergonomically to reduce risk of injury or strain over time.”
If you must use a laptop, external monitors and keyboards can help because you can connect them to your laptop to keep your screen at eye level and your keyboard in an ergonomic position.
Benefits of Proper Typing Posture
The benefits of typing with proper posture include:
1. Avoid chronic pain and overuse injury
Improper typing posture can cause chronic neck pain, back pain, and headaches; and it can lead to overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
2. Improve appearance and confidence
Holding your body in the wrong position over time can influence unnatural curvatures of the spine and neck, causing conditions such as forward head posture, hunchback, kyphosis, and lordosis. Sometimes, these conditions can affect one’s appearance and confidence.
3. Reduce fatigue
Holding your body in an unnatural position can cause you to tire out faster. Good typing posture keeps your body in its natural, neutral position, allowing it to operate efficiently with less fatigue.
4. Increase typing speed and improve accuracy
Studies have shown that posture affects typing speed and accuracy. When you type with proper posture, you can get your work done faster and better.
Risks of Poor Typing Posture
The risks of poor typing posture include:
- Overuse injuries
- Appearance issues
- Confidence issues
- Poor performance
“If the ergonomics are off, then the torso is not where it should be in relation to the pelvis and legs. It’s too much flexion, and any time you have too must sustained flexion, you start to get abnormal wear and tear on the lining of the joints and also the muscle tissue with microscopic strains,” says Dr. Hollern, who adds that poor ergonomics can lead to arthritis as the soft cartilage that pads bones wears away.
Tips for correct posture when typing
Follow these tips to help you maintain proper typing posture.
1. Use a posture corrector
Posture correctors work in two ways. First, they gently align your spine and retract your shoulders to help you sit in a neutral position. Second, they train your body to adopt muscle memory so that, eventually, you won’t need a device to remind you to type with proper posture.
“There are a lot of devices out there you can use that have good components about them. It all relates back to whether they affect the posture that the body knows its supposed to be in without causing it to overcompensate in areas,” says Dr. Hollern. “The body is always going to compensate what force you put on it, whether stationary or movement. That’s why ergonomics over time are critical. Look at how many 50 and 60 year olds you see bent over and can’t walk. Proprioception is another thing that posture braces can affect over the long haul.”
Be sure to look for a quality posture corrector that’s been vetted and recommended by doctors and chiropractors, and avoid low-quality models that don’t offer proper support and are likely to disintegrate in the wash.
If you’re concerned about how a posture corrector might look, some are lightweight and comfortable enough to be worn under clothing yet stylish enough to be worn over clothes.
Posture correctors for women: Stylish posture braces that can be worn over or under clothing
2. Set up an ergonomic workstation
If your workstation is ergonomic, it will be easier and feel more natural to assume proper typing posture. Look for:
- A chair with lumbar support (or purchase a separate lumbar pillow)
- A keyboard that allows you to keep your wrists in neutral position
- A monitor you can raise to eye level
- An ergonomic mouse
- A standing desk or kneeling desk to change your position frequently throughout the day
3. Set reminders
Consistently remind yourself to stop slouching, sit straight, change your position often, and get up and move. You can set a timer or use a slouch detector, which uses your webcam to monitor your position and alert you when you slouch. You can also explore posture apps that remind you to adjust your posture at pre-set intervals.
“You need movement, and activity is critical. If you sit for a living, you have to get up and move around,” says Dr. Hollern. “Supporting your posture is nice, but you need to take breaks and get up and move.”
4. Strengthen postural muscles
Exercises, stretches, and yoga are excellent ways to strengthen your postural muscles, making it easier and more natural to sit and type with proper posture. Check out the exercises, stretches, and yoga poses we recommend in our guide to proper sitting posture.
Follow the tips outline here to improve your speed and accuracy, avoid pain and injury, and bolster your confidence with proper typing posture.Looking for a lightweight, comfortable, stylish posture corrector that works? Try BackEmbrace!