When it Comes to Keying, What Type Are You?

We all know that we are more addicted then ever to our devices. So it’s no wonder that so many of us are plagued with unwanted aches and pains associated with the hours and hours of typing, keying and texting on our computers, laptops, iPads and phones.

But There’s GOOD News!

If you understand what type of typer or texter you are, then you can likely pinpoint the potential causes of your aches and pains.  And this means that with simple changes, you can sidestep and  avoid pain altogether.   So?  What type are you?

CLASSIC TOUCH TYPIST

Touch typing, or home row typing has been around since the late 1800’s and is the standard method of typing taught in schools today.  It involves a method of muscle memory where each finger is assigned to a HOME ROW (a-s-d-f  for the left hand and    j-k-l-; for the right).   From this HOME base, each finger is assigned letters and memorizes by feel how to get from letter to letter.  The good news?  It frees you from having to look at the keyboard when typing.  The bad? This system can wreak havoc on your fingers, wrists, hands, arms, elbows as well as your neck, back and shoulders, since your fingers and wrists do most of the work.  In this method, your neck and shoulders are static which believe it or not can increase muscular tension.

While we can’t teach you a different method of typing in this blog post, we can give you some tips on how to minimize stress to your body.

  • Lighten Your Touch.  Remember you weigh more than the key, so let gravity do it’s thing and ease up.   Anything above and beyond that is just wasted effort and energy.
  • Get Up and Over for Your Outlier Keys.  Touch typing specifically teaches us to pivot or twist at the wrist to reach keys like Enter, Backspace and Shift.  This can bring about pain and strain in your wrists, forearms and elbos.   Instead, move your entire hand and arm over to the outlier keys keeping your wrist alignments in tact to avoid twisting.  This will also allow your arms to move a bit more which will ease tension in your neck and back.

HUNT AND PECK

If you never learned touch typing at school or through DIY tutorials and software, don’t fret. You are actually better off then your touch typing buddies because in this method, typing tends to be done with a few fingers but has the finger, hand and arm moving together.  This avoids awkward positions of your wrists and fingers and avoids what is known as isolated finger and wrist movements.   The downside?  Some people say they are type and key slower than they’d like to while others say they have to look at their keyboards which can literally be a pain in the neck.

So, here are some handy tips.  (Pun intended – HA HA HA HA!)

  •  Slowly add in another finger or two to your typing style.  This minimizes your lateral travel across the keyboard and can enhance your speed.
  • Use your peripheral vision to help wean yourself from having to look at the keys when typing.  This process can take a few weeks to get comfortable with not looking, but your neck will thank you!

THUMB DRIVEN TEXTERS

Believe it or not, we are all texting so much, that there’s a new phrase that has been coined called Texter’s Thumb!  Texter’s thumb is pain associated with overusing our thumbs when texting.   When you text (or game)  using your thumbs, they can get pretty cranky, pretty quickly.

Here are some new rules of thumb when it comes to texting and gaming:

  • Alternate fingers.  Yes.  You heard me.  You can set down your device and key with any finger that you want.  You can also hold your device in one hand and use your index finger from your opposite hand to text.  Then you can switch.  Get creative.
  • Watch your force and pinch grip.  Simply holding your device with too much force can put your thumbs and wrists at risk for aches and pains.

It is easier than you think to make tweaks to your typing and keying style.  Give any change a few weeks to take hold.  Stick with it.  It’s worth it!

Do you have a typing or texting style that you want to share with us?  Leave us a comment and tell us what’s working and what isn’t!

Until the Next Time!

Vivienne & Andrew

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