Random Access   chris, kp & rob
Geek Candy
Computer Ergonomics or... How to Exercise at Your Computer
by rob

While it's easy to sit at a desk all day, doing so can lead to bad posture, muscle pain, stiffness, or repetitive stress injuries. Here are some simple things you can do to ease your work day.

The first step is to sit correctly. Your computer chair should be comfortable and include lumbar support (or use an orthopedic pillow). Adjust the back of your chair to a 100° – 110° reclined angle. Also adjust the height of your chair so your feet rest flat on the floor and your knees are even with or slightly lower than your hips. Sitting correctly will ease the pressure on your lower back and help blood flow.

Get up and walk around every hour. This activity will promote whole body blood circulation. Also, getting away from staring at your computer screen will let your eyes focus on different things. An easy way to remember take a break is to set up a reminder in Outlook that will alert you every hour.

While you're teaching yourself into good habits, try these simple stretching exercises to keep stiffness from setting in:

  • Roll your wrists to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Roll your ankles to promote good blood circulation in your feet
  • Stretch your neck by pushing your head front and back and side to side
  • Open your arms wide, straight out from your body. Then rotate your thumbs up and behind you. This will counteract bad posture caused by hunching.
  • Stand in an open doorway, placing your hands on the frame. Then lean forward, stretching your arms and shoulders. Move your hands to low, medium and high positions.
  • Turn your head and torso each way as if trying to look behind you

Stress Relief
Stretching and flexing can also relieve stress. Get a stress ball and give it a squeeze while reading, brainstorming or watching YouTube videos. Doing so will exercise your forearms and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Classic Exercises
When your computer is busy doing work (running a macro, rebooting, defragging, installing updates, etc.), you can take time to do some classic exercises like a few jumping jacks, push-ups or sit-ups. Just ignore any strange looks you get from co-workers.

Doing these things will help you feel better, work better and perhaps even loose some weight.

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Small Print
Though this may be good advice, I am not a doctor and Random Access is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Materials available here are for informational purposes only. You should contact your physician if you have any questions about your medical condition, or if you need medical help. If you need emergency medical help, you should immediately call 911 or your physician.

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