Is Web Design Affecting Your Health?

May 16, 2006

All right. I admit it. I am a computer spud. Day after day I slump in front of a computer, staring at a glowing LCD screen, sometimes not budging for hours at a time. Ergonomics for me mostly means shifting into a cross-legged position when slouching on my tailbone gets too uncomfortable. Needless to say, I'm suffering the inevitable consequences. My rear is expanding, my eye sight is going, and by the end of the day my posture resembles that of a hunchback. For a year now I've ignored the signs. Huffing a bit going up stairs? Well, take a load off--why do you think they call them "landings"? Wrist aching a bit? Just cram it into a brace and keep on typing. Trouble seeing your 17-inch monitor? Spring for a 21-inch. Let's face it. At 45 I can't expect everything to work as well as it did at 25. But lately the impact of my chosen profession on my health has started to alarm me. You know it's time to reconsider your habits when your 17-year-old, blind, deaf and arthritic collie can easily outrun you. In the interests of living long enough to see my kids graduate from high school, I turned, naturally, to the web.

  • First, I downloaded a nifty little freeware alarm clock called AlfaClock. Every 30 minutes it plays a sound, reminding me to stretch and look away from the screen.
  • Next, I went through the checklist for computer workstations on OSHA's Safety and Health Topics: Ergonomics section, where I found out how much I need a keyboard tray.
  • Finally, I printed out and pinned beside my monitor the Computer and Desk Stretches from my alma mater, MSU.

So, yeah, okay. It's not much. But given my schedule, I don't foresee myself heading off to the gym for a daily 1 or 2 hour workout, which is what I really need. This will have to do for now... Oh, yeah, and maybe laying off the danish a bit. You know, this is really good. I'm feeling pumped. Oh, yeah! That old hound of mine is in for a surprise. Here's a few other sites I found helpful: