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Posts Tagged ‘computer rest break programs’

Too Much Time Sitting Increases your Risk of Heart Disease

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Most of us try to get our daily exercise checked off our “to do” list either before or after work.  We do this with the hopes of staving off health problems like diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.  However, a recent study from the University of South Carolina suggests that, if you spend most of your day sitting,  daily exercise may not be enough.  Researchers at the university found that men who were sedentary for more than 23 hours a week had a greater risk of dying from heat disease (by a whopping 64%) than those men who only sat for less than 11 hours a week. And these were mostly men who exercises regularly. If you imagine that someone is a weekend warrior and doesn’t sit at all on weekends, those numbers suggest that sitting for 5 hours a day during the work week makes you 64 percent more likely to die of heat disease. Yicks! Most people I know sit at a computer for more than 5 hours a day.

So what are we to do?  We can’t stop working (or going to school) and computers are not going anywhere soon… Most forms of transportation to get to work or school involve sitting. We need a little relaxing down time after work and most of us find that sitting in front of the t.v. is the perfect antidote to the stresses of the day. So we sit… a lot.

Sitting has become a necessary part of our life, but there are ways to reduce the detrimental effects of being stationary. Here are some ways to work to beat the sitting blues:

Keep up with your exercise routine before or after work

Go for a 15 minute brisk walk on your lunch break

Take the stairs

Don’t email the person down the hall at work. Get up and go talk to them in person.

Take a phone call standing up.

Get an adjustable desk that allows you to either sit or stand to work.

Get a computer rest break program installed on your home and work computer and use it to remember to take micro-breaks (15 second breaks as well as longer, 5-minute breaks).

Decrease your t.v. watching time from 7 days a week to 4 or 5 days a week. Go for a walk instead or clean out the garage. Do something other than sitting.

All of these measures will not only help to decrease your chances of heart disease, but they will also decrease your pain levels associated with sitting. In a 2011 study published by the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, office workers in Portugal who added 15-minute stretching exercises, three times a week to their work routine reported less pain in areas of the body that were bothering them (such as wrist, back and neck) when compared to workers in the same office who did not do the stretching exercises.

Technology is changing the way we do business and, in turn, we need to change the way we treat our bodies to accommodate for the excess sitting and typing. Move more and try to fit physical activity into your day wherever and whenever possible. The more breaks you take that get you up and moving, the healthier you will be and the less neck pain, back pain and wrist pain you will have.

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Back to school or work resolutions aim to decrease stress and pain at your computer

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

The Back to School time of year is here again and with it comes  feelings of renewal and promise.  For me, back to school is even better than New Year’s for setting resolutions.  Something about returning to a regular schedule demands refocus and stimulates change.  The goals of Back to School resolutions are to recapture (or maintain) those feelings of lightness, calm and relaxation you experience during your summer vacation.  Come September, you may not be able to push the pause button on stress as you did on vacation, but you can make changes that will decrease the aches and pains of desk work, improve your mood and energy and make you less desperate for your next vacation.

Here are some of my favorite back to work resolutions (try one or two and see how great you will feel):

1.  Learn how to type properly.

If you have to look down at the keys in order to type at your computer, you are putting excessive strain on your neck joints and are at risk for a disc herniation.
Try free online typing classes at GoodTyping.com

2.  Schedule a daily “No Screen Time”.

This means no computers, no TV and no video games for a set period of time every day. I recommend 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. as an ideal time to escape from technology. This policy will help you have less pain and stress, as well as be more active and relaxed – all in the middle of a work week.

3.  Take more mini-breaks at work.

A study on data entry operators found that several short, 5-minute breaks were more effective at decreasing discomfort than a traditional break schedule.  I recommend downloading the RSI Guard Computer Rest Program onto your computer. It will tell you when it is time to take micro-breaks, remind you to stay relaxed and show you desk stretches during longer break periods.

4.  Get some form of physical activity during your work day.

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina calls exercise “cognitive candy”.  I love that!
Try a brisk 10-minute walk during a meeting with a coworker, a game of basketball during lunch, 20 minutes of upper body weights while on a conference call… Whatever your preference and however you can fit it in, exercising at work can stimulate creativity, help you solve a problem and improve energy and productivity.

5.  Drink more water at work.

Why? Because staying hydrated will decrease headaches, help you lose weight and give you a good reason to get up from your desk and move around (to re-fill your glass or use the restroom).

Make healthy choices now and you won’t even need to make a New Year’s Resolution later!

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