HomeHome : Monthly Tips : Nov 2012

Take a Mini Break

November 2012 — Tip of the Month

If you're like me, you sit at a computer for 16 hours a day. Even if you're not like me, but still spend a lot of time at your computer, it's important to remember to take breaks. Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary for hours on end and not moving enough can cause some major aches and pains.

I've heard some people say that if you use a computer all day, you should stand up and walk around every 30 minutes. That is a bit ridiculous in my opinion, but standing up at least once an hour is reasonable. There are also small things you can do while sitting, taking "mini-breaks" for instance, that can help you stay comfortable and healthy.

  1. Blink! Every 10-15 minutes, it is helpful to blink a few extra times to make sure your eyes don't dry out. We often don't blink enough when staring at a computer screen, so intentionally blinking can help lubricate your eyes.
  2. Look around. Taking a moment to look around the room every so often can help reduce eye strain and can also give your mind a nice break.
  3. Move your neck. Neck aches seem to be the most common physical complaint of computer users, so doing a few neck rolls every 30 minutes can help prevent your neck from stiffening up.
  4. Shrug your shoulders. Most of us to hunch forward for long periods of time when working at a computer. Therefore, pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together can help counteract this unnatural hunched over position. I recommend holding your shoulders back for 10 seconds and then repeating it 5 or 6 times.
  5. Shake out your wrists. Wrist pain, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, is another common problem for computer users. Shaking your wrists can help bring more blood flow to your hands and can prevent those wrist tendons from tightening up. You can also rub your forearms to loosen up the muscles in your hands and wrists.

These are just a few things you can do to prevent your body from cramping up while spending long hours at your computer. It's also important to maintain good posture so that your are not placing your body under unnecessary strain. While these tips may require an intentional effort on your part, it's better to prevent the pain of strain than to deal with it later.

- Per Christensson