The keyboard warrior is the modern warrior. Just like working class heroes, the keyboard warrior relies on skills and hard work when pursuing their passions. The passion could be gaming, other times it could be web development or maybe it could staying up late at night, looking at a blank Word document, coming up with creative ideas for an ad. Whatever that passion might be, the keyboard warrior is always poised in front of a laptop or desktop, hands ready at the keyboard, fingers tapping away, going from mouse to keyboard at the blink of an eye… to save up for that next family staycation, to grow a business, to achieve that elusive high score… the list of goals simply goes on.
Are you a keyboard warrior? Then read on. Discover the “weapons” you need in order to make work or gaming ergonomically beneficial for your health and well-being – every day.
Let’s agree on one thing - being a keyboard warrior is exhausting work. Ancient or modern, times change and the definition of being a “warrior” has broadened but the toll it takes on our bodies to fight and face the challenges of our everyday battles remain the same. In the pursuit of our individual goals, we tend to forget that the first thing to suffer is our health. And that’s never a good thing, warrior or not.
So, if you consider yourself a keyboard warrior, you must always keep your health at an optimum level. To do this, you must surround yourself with ergonomic essentials that actually work with you. We all know that there are quite a few products out there that are labeled “ergonomic” yet sadly, when you open the packaging, it’s just a stiff TV mount that won’t even allow you to tilt or swivel. That’s the same thing for work essentials; sometimes you have to sift through the proverbial haystack to find the needle.
But because you’re here, well, you’re in luck. In this one single blog post, you can find all the ergonomic basics you need to keep you pursuing your passions in a healthy way.
1. Sit-Stand Desk
After being on your desk for several hours, every day, do you find yourself experiencing back pain? Neck pain? Do you feel generally unhealthy, lethargic and just you know… kind of slow? Not just in terms of your body but your mind, too? We hope you’re not ignoring those symptoms.
Although small, if these become chronic, these could lead to serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes or even cancer. Don’t take our word for it - the experts at the Smithsonian will tell you that prolonged sitting in front of a desk can seriously affect your health.
What they recommend is to combine a healthy mix of movement within your work day. Sure, it’s tempting to just sit through your entire shift however; it won’t do you any good. For the benefit of you long-term good health, invest in a good sit-stand desk.
What do you look for in a good sit-stand desk? First of all, quality is everything. Although it’s great if you love DIY, you can definitely make your own sit-stand desk but purchasing one from a reputable ergonomics furniture solutions provider is still the most recommended way. Why? You’re sure that only materials of the highest quality are being used. Second, their products and solutions are research-driven. The design and functionality is specifically aligned to the human body. Lastly, it’s got all the bells and whistles but it should be simple, seamless and easy to use.
What we recommend:
We recommend Ergo Styles’ selection of quality sit-to-stand desks and workstations are proven to be durable and feature human-centered design elements that suit your body’s every need. Take a minute now to browse through what they have, check out specs, maybe talk to their experts, if you want. But their products are highly recommended by the Jestik Team.
The main thing is: look for something that suits your needs, your preferences, consider your height, your weight, consider the space where you work, etc. – all these things are important when selecting a sit-stand desk. It is after all, where everything happens, your desk is the jump-off point where your life’s work will eventually take flight and it’s a work companion that should ideally be with you for years to come.
2. Monitor Mount
In the keyboard warrior’s arsenal of ergonomic equipment, the monitor is obviously the most used and most needed; for obvious reasons, we might add. And every self-respecting keyboard warrior must have one.
Your monitor mount provides an incredible myriad of health benefits and more: minimizing neck pain, minimizing eye strain and its tilt/swivel/rotate features allow you to share your screen with co-workers, colleagues, boss, friends, family, your curious 2-year old nephew, just about anyone. It also allows you to make team presentations easier. How? Good monitor mounts feature vertical height adjustment that allow you to raise your monitor up, tilt to your desired angle and show your entire team the progress of the project you’re all working on. The best thing – it’s a space-saver. Many monitor mount “converts” always marvel at the space they can save when they start mounting their monitors. It’s like an instant way to declutter your work or gaming space.
What do you look for in a good monitor mount? Again, we’re gonna say quality always tops the list. We’re also going to say, okay, you may opt for a DIY monitor mount, that’s always a great idea. However, if you’re a noob or have tried to make your own monitor mount but just can’t seem to get it right, going for a reputable provider of ergonomic solutions is always the way to go. This way you can trust that the products are proven and tested to have the highest quality. The second most important thing is its configurability. There will always come a time when you will need to change your monitor, remove a monitor, adjust the space between monitors, etc. and getting a monitor mount that allows you to adjust and modify easily with no extra tools needed is definitely at the top of our list. Lastly, it’s ease of use. It should only take you minutes to assemble and install your monitor mount.
What we recommend:
Monitor mounts aren’t just TV wall brackets, monitor mounts can support single to multiple monitors easily. Jestik’s collection of monitor arms will end your search for that the perfect monitor mount. From single monitor arms to monitor mounts than can support a total of 8 monitors (4 over 4 monitors), our monitor mounts a range of ergonomic freedom and flexibility. You can browse their collection and choose which one works best for you.
But if you’re just looking for a basic, single monitor mount, you can narrow it down to the Jestik Breeze 1.0 Single Monitor Mount. Simple, seamless, durable, if you’re simply ticking off your list of ergonomic essentials, this is the best product for you.
3. Ergonomic Keyboard
Keyboard warriors type. Keyboard warriors type a whole lot. For instance, some freelance writers produce up to 15-30 articles/e-books, etc. every week, imagine how many words per second fly out from the writer’s hands, every single day. Plenty, for sure.
But here, we tread carefully. There are those who think that an ergonomic keyboard is no more ergonomic than the traditional keyboard. While there are others who swear by the effectivity of ergonomic keyboards; that these are must-haves if you find yourself doing a lot of typing or using the keyboard several hours a day, almost every day. Whichever might float your boat – it is still recommended that you stay on the healthy side.
Ergonomics Guru writes that using an ergonomic keyboard “will reduce muscle strain, risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist soreness and pain, elbow and arm soreness and pain that is from muscle fatigue and strains from using a normal computer keyboard.” Trust us, these symptoms are very true.
Some people believe that they don’t develop these symptoms unless they’ve been typing for, say, 50 years give or take but that’s not necessarily true, it’s not the amount of time you’ve been typing, it’s the way you’ve been typing, how your hands are positioned, the way your elbows and wrists are positioned while you type, etc. All these factors put together can lead to more serious complications.
That, my friends, is the Gospel truth. Whether you believe in ergonomic keyboards or not, we are always at the risk of not being able to use our hands ever again if we don’t take care of them. It’s a very real risk for us keyboard warriors.
What we recommend:
The best way to go about this is to research and get good sources. Based on the honest opinions of our ergonomic experts here at Jestik, some ergonomic keyboards work well for others, while some don’t. So if you end up buying the wrong ergonomic keyboard, you might just not notice the difference between the ergonomic and traditional keyboards.
The key is to research, learn and find the best one that works for your line of work.
To get you going, we’ve lined up a couple of sources you can look at: Jack Wallen of Tech Republic writes a refreshingly honest blog article about recommending ergonomic keyboards that actually work. You may notice that this article was published in 2009 however he indicates that he favors Kinesis among all other brands. Fast forward to 2016, Kinesis still comes highly recommended; ranking No. 2 in Comparaboo’s list of 10 Best Ergonomic Keyboards. However Microsoft takes the top spot. Both Comparaboo and Wirecutter picks Microsoft’s ergonomic keyboards as the best of the year.
4. Ergonomic Mouse
It’s understood that to go along with your ergonomic keyboard is a good ergonomic mouse. Like bread and butter, french fries and milkshake, these two are partners for life. So the whole idea of why you need an ergonomic keyboard is pretty much the same with why you need an ergonomic mouse, too – your health; in particular, the health of your wrists, hands and fingers.
We mentioned in the section for ergonomic keyboards that there are quite a few split opinions about the benefits of getting an ergonomic keyboard vs. the traditional keyboard well, you guessed it - it’s entirely the same case with the ergonomic mouse. But let’s not take part in all that drama. Keyboard warriors, we all know the risk we take if we put too much strain and stress on our hands; we might end up with serious health complications that might result in severe pain that will eventually not allow us to use our hands ever again. We don’t want that. Let’s stick to the safe, healthy side and follow what the experts say – if you type on a keyboard several hours a day, every day, it’s best to use an effective ergonomic keyboard + mouse combo.
What we recommend:
Just like searching for a good ergonomic keyboard, the best way to find a good ergonomic mouse is to trust the experts. Take your time to research several products and be careful in considering what’s available in the market. If you end up purchasing the “wrong” kind of mouse (we mean something that doesn’t fit your needs), you may not be getting its ergonomic benefits.
To get you going on your quest for searching the perfect ergonomic mouse, check out Comparaboo’s 2016 list of the best ergonomic mice. Handshoe and J-Tech’s mice are definitely dominating the top spots there. You may also want to check PC Mag’s 2016 list as it interestingly doesn’t have the same top 2 contenders as Comparaboo’s. Both sources are worth the read.
Another familiar health-related problem for keyboard warriors is eye strain caused by working in front of computers several hours a day. WebMD tells us all about CVS or computer vision syndrome – the official name for the eye strain we experience when staring at the computer screen for hours.
Eventually, all that stress we are giving to our eyes is going to lead to health complications. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you protect your eyes. But what’s the best way to do that? You’ve probably read one too many blogs about how to care for your eyes – from taking frequent “eye” breaks to using proper lighting, you’ve probably heard it all.
What we recommend:
To narrow it all down, here’s a brief list of tips and links for tools to help you prevent computer-related eye strain:
For laptop users, it’s a must to set your laptop to eye level by using a laptop stand. You can go DIY on this and make your own however we recommend looking for an ergonomic laptop stand. Setting up your laptop at eye level minimizes strain and reduces stress in your eyes. The folks over at Ergo Styles offer a range of top-rated height adjustable laptop trays that you can choose from. Desktop users can also opt to use a monitor stand.
Getting customized computer eyewear is also a sure way to protect your eyes. We’ll let the experts do the talking and you can see for yourself if this is an option might want to look into.
You can also download free apps and software that can help improve your vision. Lifehack offers us 8 free apps to prevent eye strain.
There you have it. Armed with these ergonomic work essentials, being a keyboard warrior all day, every day is going to be both fun and most importantly, healthy.