Do You Sit, Stand, Or Lounge When Using Your Computer? [We Ask You]

We Ask You   Do You Sit, Stand, Or Lounge When Using Your Computer? [We Ask You]I’ve been a freelance writer for over five years now, and it actually scares me a little to think how long I have spent glued to my computer (not literally, of course) during that time. I do know (thanks to the Health option of Defraggler) that in the three years since I bought my current laptop it’s been running for a total of 653 days. So, it’s on around two-thirds of the time. I don’t get out much, in case you were wondering.

When one uses a computer for such extended periods it’s important to consider the set-up. I’ve had various desks and chairs over the years, and now — thanks to my new cheap standing desk from Ikea — use a combination throughout the day to give my body some variety. But what about you? This week’s We Ask You column is all about your computer-using habits.

This Week’s Question…

Do You Sit, Stand, Or Lounge When Using Your Computer?

This is a simple yet very important question. Why? Because with more people using computers for longer periods of time the risk of RSI (repetitive strain injury) or other health complications increases for huge swathes of the population. Hopefully this debate will prompt a few people to look at the way they operate their computer and form new habits to replace the old, bad habits.

using computer in bed   Do You Sit, Stand, Or Lounge When Using Your Computer? [We Ask You]

Tell us exactly how and where you use your computer. Do you sit bolt upright with perfect posture on a decent chair at a decent desk? Have you made the switch to a standing desk like I recently tried to do? Or do you lounge, either in an armchair, on a sofa, or even in bed? Don’t limit yourself to the three choices of position above. Instead, be honest with yourself and with everybody else.

If you’d like to expand the discussion then possible talking points include: If you use a computer at work are you then loathe to use one at home for any extended period of time? Do you feel your company provides the correct environment for you to be working in? Do you feel we’re in danger of becoming a race of unfit, unhealthy humans which only uses the muscles required to sit at a computer and type?

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and 150 MakeUseOf points to use for Rewards or Giveaways. What more motivation than that do you need to get involved?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to start a conversation. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Ollie Crafoord

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If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

68 Comments -

0 votes

Greg

On my couch or on my bed

0 votes

Sam G

Sit/lounge i try to protect my back by leaning 5 to 10 degrees back … on my old computer chair.

0 votes

Austen Gause

me too

0 votes

Austen Gause

i sit down (i have a desktop)

0 votes

Dave Parrack

How do ensure you’re always sitting back by 5 to 10 degrees?

0 votes

gpvprasad

using protractor I guess, else he must be a Civil Engineer.

0 votes

Sam gladden

I know how the correct angle feels…

0 votes

Zsolt Janka

I have an old solid wood desk with a solid wood chair (no adjustable back or anything). I can say it keeps me sitting with perfect posture. I would say it is perfect if you don’t want to sit for too long in front of the computer when you are at home.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I used a solid wood chair for a while, and while it helped my posture I noticed I’d get a numb crotch (no joke!) if I sat too long. I quickly reverted back to a softer chair.

0 votes

Yash Desai

lounge in my bed like the guy in the picture

0 votes

Dave Parrack

And was I thinking that was an extreme example!

0 votes

Quinn

I’d say I usually sit at a table or desk when I’m using the computer, but I like to sit my laptop on an ottoman and sit on the floor with a couple pillows under me when I’m just surfing.

My old Compaq 6910p got really hot so I had to prop it up every 5 or 10 minutes to prevent it from overheating

0 votes

Patricia Moore

I use a traditional lap desk and laptop in bed. The tireder I get the more I slide down my 2-3 pillows strategically stacked behind me. I get semi dirty looks from my 2 dogs when need to adjust the pillows (or fall off the bed laptop and all) What a battle. My youngest daughter however appears to be almost inverted in her desk chair while using her desk top system with the monitor pointed at the floor, it’s like her head is almost at the base the back of the chair and the desk is her ottoman. She says it’s very comfortable…yikes! It amazes me how she can sit like that for hours and never feel the effects of it. My oldest daughter will lie in bed with her laptop on her stomach about 8 inches from her face. Her head is barely raised with a pillow, it’s like she’s doing a Kilroy to see it. She too says it’s very comfortable.Amazing!

0 votes

Lisa Santika Onggrid

My mom would ban me from touching any computer if I ever try any of your daughters’ position. They’re the worst I’ve ever heard. It’s amazing that they don’t get headache or shoulder cramps with those bizarre setup.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Ah, the joys of being young. You wait until they’re in their 30s and complaining about bad backs ;)

0 votes

pete jr. josue

i just sit on the floor since i only have a mattress to lie on well that is also just situated on the floor. i put my laptop on a storage box to make it more comfortable. and i do shift my positions every now and then and lie down a bit when the aches come by and also to stretch tired muscles too.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Changing positions and stretching often are essential.

0 votes

Michael Leitch

It’s simple you go with what is comfortable and doesn’t cause any injuries. Personally it’s sitting in a comfy chair at a desk with the screen at a good height.

0 votes

Mark

I always use a standing desk.I am barefoot on a soft yoga mat. I do lots of leg stretches whilst at work, also toe stands with ankle weights etc. I have an intensive after hours fitness program that requires the general working day hours to prepare for this intensive time.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Wow. Having tried a standing desk I cannot imagine using it full-time. Perhaps I just need to get fitter first.

0 votes

Mark

Well Dave, I’ve always done lots of standing & walking + I’m advocating active movements not just standing stationary (which could stress the circulatory system). Whenever I start a new fitness program I start gently.
I believe it is almost impossible to maintain long term lifelong fitness, without suppleness & flexibility. When a physical therapist/trainer gave me stretching exercises, the number of repetitions was never enough for me to get a good permanent outcome. I also looked to Yoga & Pilates for different leg moves. Muscle memory of our lifestyle now contributes to your fitness profile decades into the future, including how easy it is to get fit later in life.
I have a home office so I don’t need to consider workplace colleague perceptions. Need a hamstring stretch? – put your foot on the desk. Need a quad stretch? – put your foot on a chair behind you. When it is a habit – It won’t distract from your work.
I will say this – somewhere in the 21st century – the workplace, in some locations will become The hub for fitness. (This may include standing, walking machines & wobble board to stand on) Perhaps that can only ever happen when a true price is put on the cost of complete inactivity for decades in the workplace. Today Office culture is such, that when healthy interventions are offered by management, there can be a reluctance to stand up, so to speak. Perhaps that’s understandable in an open plan office.
As someone who has looked at a range of health lifestyles, like Paleo diets & CR (Calorie restriction), the gaping hole in modern society is the static working day.
Incidentally I picked up my standing desk, 2nd hand, at an garage sale; a sturdy old wooden architects drafting table.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Great comment. Thanks for taking the time to explain your thinking on workplace culture.

I’ve dabbled with yoga and stretching and always feel better when I maintain it for extended periods. Unfortunately it’s far too easy to fall back into a pattern of remaining static all day.

0 votes

sakthivel

Lounge in bed and sofa.

0 votes

William

Sittin in my lazyboy with my feet up on a box of cat6

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You have a Joey (from Friends) chair? Man, I’m jealous, I’ve always wanted one of those.

0 votes

Nikhil Chandak

I usually do my work and fun on my computer while sitting ….
Sometimes when I have pain somewhere in my body , then only I lounge on my bed using laptop . I think sitting straight while doing anything will only keep ur body at a good posture ..
But on lounge , our body gets comfort and there we relax , we do work on laptop on lounge but then our body is not at a right posture and it may create pain at joints or at any other part of the body …..
So I think that we shall do our work or any other thing while sitting straight which will not create pain

0 votes

Vipul Jain

First 10 minutes – Sit
Next 20 minutes – Slouch
Next 20 minutes – All lied down with head bulging up to see the screen
Later – All flat down, adjusting the laptop with pillows.. :D

0 votes

Bob Henson

Using my desktop (most of the time) I sit in a well arranged position in a high-backed computer chair with a purpose designed desk. Keyboard/mouse positions are adjusted to best fit. The Laptop goes on a table with a chair of the appropriate height. Smartphone all over the place, of course, but propped up at a handy angle for one-handed use on my desk when at home.

Arthritis and old age demands good ergonomics :-(

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Sadly, you’re correct. The last five years seem to have aged me prematurely, and I blame working at a computer for long stretches of time. I’m only now starting to think about ergonomics – the desk, chair, keyboard, and mouse combo.

0 votes

Ebbe Kristensen

“Sitting bolt upright” is actually not the perfect posture. Here is why:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061127112844.htm

0 votes

Mohammad Wasiullah

I bought one chair which keep me straight while sit front of the computer and my hand is straight while use mouse of the computer it is very important to remember are your hand or body is straight while use computer “don’t use laptop is sleep position” it is very harmful for your diagnostics.

0 votes

rocky 143

Yea when I feel tired

0 votes

Lisa Santika Onggrid

I sit on whatever chair nearby with a decent computer desk when I work on my PC, but with my laptop, most often I’ll lounge on bed in positions that would anger any chiropractor. I admit I’m not being good with my backbones. Need to find better solution.

0 votes

Alan Wade

All three of us (me, my wife and her son) have proper computer desks with proper computer chairs and have had for the 12 years we have been together but then again all three of us have desktop computers. Me and my wife share a computer room so space is no problem for us to lay out everything in a neat and orderly fashion. Her son has a cupboard under the stairs, NO he dosnt – just joking, has his computer desk in his bedroom and we share a networked printer which is on my desk.
We usually spend 4-5 hours a day on our respective computers, which sounds very anti-social, but isnt really given the fact that we live in the same house and can email each other should something of importance come up.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I knew Harry Potter was non-fiction…

0 votes

sam

stand, made a standing desk in my room for my computer, so far I really like it

0 votes

Arron Walker

I have a desktop and a laptop. The desktop I is a sitting desk. Sometimes I will sit up straight, others I’ll slouch back, and use my amp as a foot rest. The laptop is usually used in bed. I am either on my back with the laptop on my stomach/chest, with my head propped up by pillows. Or, I am lying on my side, head propped up by an arm, but I an a position I can take that arm out to type with if I need to.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

So, which do you find more comfortable – the desktop or the laptop? I’m seriously considering making my next PC purchase a desktop to force me to sit or stand in better positions.

0 votes

Arron Walker

In the long run, the desktop. The laptop feels more comfortable at first, but if I’m the positions for too long, it either hurts and I have to adjust, or when I’m finished, I find I’m painfully stiff. The desktop doesn’t have the initial comfort, but I don’t have any pain when I’m finished with it.

0 votes

Cathy Horner

Usually at my desk with an armless cushioned computer chair, but what makes it most comfortable is my little fancy Victorian foot stool to prop my feet up and it’s just big enough for my cat to lay on my feet and keep them warm :)

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Cats were clearly put on this Earth to be feet warmers ;)

0 votes

Joel Lee

Throughout college, I used to use my laptop JUST like the guy in that picture. Oh man, those were the days.

Now that I use a desktop, I’m mostly slouched over on my left elbow as I browse with my palm on my cheek. Not good for skin hygiene, I can tell you that much.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

A warning from your future, Joel. I used to do just that, and developed a pain in my shoulder that needed intense physiotherapy. It’s tempting, but don’t do it!

0 votes

Félix S. De Jesús

I use my abdomen and my legs to get 60 degrees up, to stand my computer when I am in bed.

0 votes

Debbie Bashford

I have a desk top PC so I sit

0 votes

Jamil Ahmed

I sit mostly with a back support mostly.

0 votes

Mac Witty

Sit on a pilates ball

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Ooh, they’re good. I can’t sit on one all day but they offer something different occasionally.

0 votes

rusto88

I am in week one of using a standing desk (cheap mod to my conventional desk via Ikea parts: http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Standing-desk-for-22-dollars.html). Been battling piriformis syndrome for a while and sitting long hours has been agony. So far so good.

0 votes

Maarburg

In July, I converted to a standing desk (Thank you Ikea), at home. I focus better, I have more storage and it lends itself to regular breaks.

At work, I sit. This might explain why I have a headache everyday, even though I enjoy my job.

I might, sneak in to the office and set up an Ikea-Budget standing desk.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Do you mind me asking what standing desk you bought? Having recently made my own I’m always interested to discover alternatives.

0 votes

Judith

I sit. I am disabled and use a wheelchair, therefore I sit for most tasks throughout my day.
I lay when I sleep, I rarely stand.
Have a great weekend!!!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I hope no offense was taken by the question. Can I ask whether you use a desktop or a laptop? And how being disabled affects your use of a computer?

0 votes

Adrian Rea

Yes, I do them all, but I have yet to use a computer floating in space! :)

0 votes

Terafall

Usually I sit or lounge but I never stand when using my laptop.At least not yet

0 votes

Rajaa Chowdhury

I use a Windows 7 Desktop computer, so no other option but to SIT and work on the computer. However I try to access the internet now from my android phone so that I can get a break to lie down on my bed and access the net.

0 votes

gpvprasad

I use my tablet PC upside down and notebook on my chest when doing video chat and when writing comments on my lap.

0 votes

Chuck Pilger

Last weekend I finally took action and built the simplest standing desk I could think of. I simply put a shelf extension sticking out in front of the top shelf of a bookcase in my office, just below elbow height. It slides onto the shelf and so can be removed easily if I build a more elaborate standing desk later. On it I have an old ThinkPad T42 with a defective screen, connected to an LCD monitor at standing eye level.and to the office network. I have been trying to do all of my email and web browsing on this machine. When my legs get tired its time to sit at my desk and do some real work on my other machine.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

It’s a great idea to experiment with a cheap standing desk, and to move over to using it slowly rather than immediately. Our bodies are just too used to sitting. I wish you luck with the switch :)

0 votes

Alexandra Jau

I lounge thou I have a computer desk…it’s to far away…

0 votes

John Amen

I have a home office & a large wooden desk.
A comfortable chair, I start by sitting upright, but then my bum (has a mind ot it’s own) slowly starts to slide to the front of the chair until I slough real comfy

0 votes

Tony Gonzaga

it is better to sit.

0 votes

Rena Clamen

The most comfortable laptop setup I have discovered is sitting on a yoga ball with the laptop on a desk or table of the proper height, ergonomically speaking.

Sitting on the yoga ball forces me into a position with surprisingly good posture. :-)

0 votes

Easton Wiki

Sit in a nice comfy computer chair. (who would stand for doing real computing?? ..nonsense lol)

0 votes

Kevin Lee

lounge

0 votes

Bernardo Delapasion

one advise dont fry yer balls

0 votes

Somaiya Ebrahim

lying down on my bed

0 votes

John

I have an IKEA Poang chair. My monitor is on a floorstand on wheels, keyboard on my knee and a wireless mouse on the wooden chair arm. I set this up at home because I have a standard desk set-up at work. I didn’t want to sit at a desk in the evening as well.
Next plan is to get a monitor stand with a keyboard / mouse shelf. It will go tall for standing or back down to my armchair like it is now.
I’ve just got to find the fancy stand now!