Here’s a great article with tips about how to avoid injury while computing: Bad News: Laptops Can Damage Your Spine. (h/t Instapundit) This really is something you want to be pro-active about – there are long term, serious consequences to poor ergonomics.
I typically use the computer about twelve hours a day, usually six days a week. Not only have I been swamped at work since Hurricane Katrina, but I’m a news junkie, there are several online games I enjoy, and I typically spend an hour a day blogging. Repetitive stress injuries are a real concern to me. Years ago I wrote a series of computer manuals for Chevron and worked on site for over a year. At that time, Chevron had a policy of evaluating all workers for risk of RSI, and alleviating the risk with foot rests, monitor rises, and WorkPace software. It’s just about the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Once you install Workpace, you answer a series of questions, and based on your answers a custom program is devised. While you work, your computer will periodically ask you to pause briefly to take a “micropause” where you allow your muscles to relax to prevent muscle fatigue, and less often, it will prompt you to take a break. During that break, simple exercises and stretches are displayed on the screen for you to follow along and perform. You can make these breaks optional, or you can require them by allowing the software to lock up your computer during the break. You can try it free for a month, and if you like it, it’s about $50. It’s been well worth it to me – try it yourself!
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