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ealthy Computing Tips

Healthy Computing: Flow Typing

© Erik Peper PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by Erik Peper PhD. View all columns in series
Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with Healthy Computing Email Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay healthier while working.

For a free ergonomic assessment of your SFSU workstation by an Ergonomic Safety Program coach, please contact: Environmental Health and Occupational Safety at 338-1449.

A common error in typing is to rest our wrists on the desk surface/keyboard tray or wrist rest. In this position, the hand bends backwards (wrist extension) and rotate toward the side (ulnar deviation). Palm and/or wrist resting on the wrist pad may cause us to strain when reaching different keys on the keyboard. Forearm, neck, and shoulder tension may also be increased. To reduce this risk of hand/wrist strain, practice FLOW TYPING.


Sit comfortably erect.

Check your position so that your upper arms hang along your body, with elbows bent at an angle between 90 and 100 degrees. Keep your wrists straight with fingers relaxed and loosely touching the keys.

As you type, observe how your arms move forward, back and slightly to the side as your fingers access different keys.

Type with a light touch and playfully allow more movement with your arms and shoulders.

The typing movement is distributed throughout the whole arm and shoulder, similar to the way a relaxed pianist plays.

Every 30 to 60 seconds take a micro-break (e.g., let your hands drop to your lap and allow your hands, arms and shoulders to relax for a second) and then resume typing.

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About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco State University. He is President of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe (2005) and past President of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.......more
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