Aching back, arms and hands, eyes feeling like they are on fire at the end of the day all of these things can be attributed to and improper workplace. Today I am going to focus on the keyboard and why you should use an ergonomic one. The word ergonomic is probably a word you have heard many different times and from various sources. It is perhaps the one of the main focuses in the workplace today. Looking at your computer, which are our main concern, you will find that the aspect of an ergonomic keyboard can be incorporated too, in most situations.
Essentially, an ergonomic keyboard is supposed to make you comfortable as you work as it draws away muscle strain and other repetitive strain injuries (RSI). In most cases, you will find that this variety of keyboards are V shaped and this is meant to enable both hands to type at an angle, which is assumed to be the most natural way to do so for every person.
As usual, most of the times, when working on or with your keyboard, speed, comfort and efficiency are of the essence. It is said that using one of these will help you work efficiently and faster over a long period of time since your hands and wrists will be much more comfortable and that injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will be prevented in the long run. I do have to say it does take a little while to get used to but really only about a day.
This is what has made ergonomic keyboards popular over time and you might as well consider getting one to reap the benefits of the same. While you are at it, understand that there are several varieties of these you are set to find out there such as the arch keyboard that ensures keys are close to your fingers and the split variety that is meant to make your wrists assume a more natural position as you type.
Other varieties include the contoured keyboard and handheld keyboard. But what really do you need to consider as you choose what ergonomic keyboard is best for you, given the varieties available? I would say design features. This is what helps you determine what is best for you and comfortable as well.
Do not expect the variety that works for one to work for you as well. So, let’s get on with it and check what you will be looking at before you opt for one of these.
This refers to elevating the middle section of a split keyboard that is meant to raise the thumbs to aid in relaxation of the forearm muscles, increase comfort and blood flow as well. One thing that is very important in this case is to check whether this keyboard has provision for adjustment or not.
Once you have checked this out, you will not be done yet. The next consideration will be total range of tenting, and sturdiness. An adjustable one will help you determine what tenting range works best for you so you can pick on the best model.
This simply means separation of keys on the keyboard. You might be wondering how this will work out for you since you are used to traditional keyboards but actually, adapting to one of these takes a short period of time. You will be working comfortably with it sooner than you think. You can either opt for total or partial separation and all that changes here, is the distance between your pointer fingers as you type.
This feature is actually optional you can either decide to have it or not once you have tested it. Here is the catch. If you have opted for tenting, you need to check whether the supports will adjust as you change tent settings otherwise, they will be useless. Some have indicated that by using them, the neck and shoulders were more relaxed and upward bending of the wrist was also reduced.
Others have a different opinion about palm supports hence, try them out first before you write them off, driven by someone else’s opinion. One man’s meat is another man’s poison; right?
Warranty and Guarantee
Oh yes! Almost inevitable in most of today’s purchases where applicable and since ergonomic keyboards tend to be more expensive than ordinary ones, you had better look out for this provision. Generally, a 30 days guarantee period and 2 years warranty is good enough in case the variety you opted for fails to work for you.
Concave Key Arrays
Keyboard varieties with their alpha keys arranged in a concave manner enhance easy access to the additional row of keys; prevent wrist extension that can cause injury and help your fingers relax better as well. Concave keys will work better in preventing extension of the wrist when coupled up with a built-in palm rest.
Straight Rows and Columns
This is a characteristic of a contoured keyboard that is actually easier to learn than traditional ones. The diagonal layout variety of keyboards will give you a harder time compared to those with straight rows and columns. If you want an easy time, then this is the right option for you but the fact is that for touch typists, it might take them a few days before they adapt to it.
Why use an Ergonomic Keyboard?
Now that we have addressed the features, a few tips on how to use an ergonomic keyboard will be worthwhile. Here we go.
- To avoid excessive movement of the fingers, make use of light touches.
- Try as much as possible to avoid using two of the fingers of one of your hands to combine two keys.
- Where possible, your wrist should be parallel to the desk with the middle finger in line with your wrist and forearm.
- When reaching for keys that are on far ends of your keyboard, try not to use your fingers and wrists. Instead, use the whole of your arms to do so.
- Take time off your keyboard and rest your wrists at regular intervals. At this point, you can go ahead and try some wrist stretch exercise. It might just be the therapy you needed.
Let me shock you. Usually, when dealing with repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) the keyboard is usually the last item people try to replace. This happens on many occasions because maybe people tend to imagine that other things should be given priority but in real sense, it should not be the case. The keyboard should feature as part of the priorities and this is part of the reasons why you need an ergonomic keyboard.