Fitness Article of the Month
August 1997

Any office worker will find this article helpful. Credit goes to Linda Henry. Nice job!

By Linda Henry, Associate Editor

Ergonomics means creating a healthy work environment. With computer-related RSI injuries currently the most common work-related complaint, ergonomics for computer use and office work would be wise. Here are some tips to prevent or modify headaches, back, neck and shoulder pains, writer's cramp and stiff hands, which can be the precursors of more serious problems.

1. Invest in the right chair. It should have a comfortable back with a bit of curve in it and be adjustable for your height, 16'20 inches from the floor.
2. Sit with your weight forward and your arms at desk height. Both feet should rest flat on the floor or against a foot rest 2'4 inches high. The top of your desk should be level with your bent arms so that the keyboard and your hands and wrists are all level. Your lower back should be supported either by the chair or a cushion. Keep your spine and head upright. Don't slouch.
3. Computer monitor (with an anti-glare screen) should be 5-15 degrees below eye level and about 2 feet in front of you. Do not crane your neck to read copy. An eye-high document holder is a good investment. Hands and wrists should be in a comfortable, relaxed position - not too high nor held at an awkward angle.
4. Invest in an under-the-desk gliding pad for your keyboard with a built-in wrist rest that will help prevent or alleviate symptoms of overuse injuries.
5. If you write a lot by hand, paint or use drafting tools, purchase a few inexpensive pen/pencil grips to ease strain on the fingers
6. Take frequent exercise breaks. A few simple stretches as well as shaking out your hands can prevent muscle aches, stiff neck and sore arms and hands. Try to do these once every hour.

You can also purchase a computer program that will remind you at set intervals to take a break or stretch.

-- L.H.

This fitness article is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care professionals. Consult your physician before beginning or making changes in your diet, supplements or exercise program, for diagnosis and treatment of illness and injuries, and for advice regarding medications. Thanks. RM

Copyright 2001, Ron McConnell. All rights reserved.
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