Life with Laptop: It Doesn't Have to Hurt

My laptop is an extension of my body. Sometimes I actually feel as if I have a keyboard and 12-inch screen growing out of my thighs. This unhealthy connection to my computer has resulted not only in strained relationships with my neglected loved ones, but also in a myriad of physical ailments that include strained eyes, tense shoulders, and a stiff neck.

I’m well versed in ergonomic strategies for desktop users, but I have no idea how to establish a safe and healthy dynamic with my little laptop. Thankfully, someone else does. In a recent issue of Health Magazine, writer Rachael Moeller Gorman outlines the best ways protect your body while loving your laptop.

Anti-glare filters

Anti-glare filters can help reduce the eyestrain you can get from staring at shiny, reflective screens (you tend to blink less when looking at them), says ergonomics expert Alan Hedge, director of Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory. Protection Filters from 3M attach easily to your screen with small plastic clips.

Take a Stand

Sometimes taking the "lap" out of laptop isn’t enough. If you’re still achy after moving your laptop to a desk, a stand may be the answer. According to experts the discomfort comes from squeezing your arms together to type on a laptop’s mini keyboard while hunching over to see the low screen. The APC Ergonomic Notebook Stand with USB 2.0 Hub offers relief by elevating your screen to eye level and providing space and hookups for a full-size keyboard and mouse.

It’s All About the Case

Frequent traveler? Wheeled bags relieve the strain often generated by a shoulder bag or backpack. If wheels won’t work for you, the American Chiropractic Association has endorsed the Kensington Contour Carrying Case line.

Keep it Cool

I’ve started to become genuinely concerned about the heat emanating from my legs after particularly long laptop session. The Targus Chill Mat uses quiet fans to move heat away from your laptop, which is ultimately better for your health and the longevity of your computer.

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