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Working at Home – Escape from Your Computer

All dedicated computer users probably understand what it is like to be really engrossed in whatever computer activity we might be involved in and unable or unwilling to stop even momentarily. However it is important to understand how seriously unhealthy it is not to get up regularly to rest the pressure that is being put on your entire skeletal system.


No leaning

You really need to get your circulation going by moving around. This can take the form of short walks around your house, or some type of stretching exercise. It doesn’t have to be longer than a few minutes every hour or two but should definitely not be ignored.

At the same time you should be aware that your eyes need to rest as well. There is one exercise that involves looking at something as far away as possible (out a window for example). Focus on that for a few minutes. Your eyes will not be stuck at whatever distance is between you and your computer monitor. You can also alternate this with just closing your eyes for a few minutes to rest them.

None of these suggestions are remotely close to ‘slacking’ – they are necessary to maintain your good health. Look at it like if you were in too much back pain to work. Your neck is stiff, your lower back is painful, and you are not able to stand it after a while and must take time off to recuperate. This represents lost productivity and consequently income in addition to ruining your health.

If you do abuse your spine, one thing that is very effective and much healthier than pain pills or even OTC pain remedies is to get an ice pack – Ideally one of those that usually has a blue gel and is reusable indefinitely. It lives in your freezer and you take it out and use it for not more than 20-minutes on the same spot off and on.

Three more tips you should be aware of to alleviate some of the strain on your lower back that comes from too much sitting, etc., are as follows:

#1 Employ some sort of a footstool (a phone book works). You will feel right away how you are more comfortable not straining;

#2 Be sure that your computer keyboard and mouse are exactly in a straight line with your hands. This means no reaching up or down and straining your wrist and neck;

#3 Your monitor should be exactly at eye level – again this is no straining to look up or down. It should naturally be straight ahead.

If you want further information – just Google ‘ergonomics’.

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The Home Office – What is Ergonomics?

“Ergonomics is the scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks.” http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ergonomics/

sit straight!

What is becoming more and more evident are warnings about the dangers of sitting for long hours. Some of us can’t help it as we sit at computers or desks doing our jobs. However there are ways to mitigate the situation if we will listen to people who tell us to get up and move around at least every hour. This gets your circulation going, and relieves the pressure on your back from being in the same position for long periods.

If you are in denial about this because you don’t feel any pain, it is more than vague ‘back aches’ etc., it is literally killers like heart disease and diabetes that can develop from too much sitting. This seems to be the case even with people who exercise vigorously every day.

To make things worse, you have to add in commute time and TV time to work time, although you would hope reclining would help at least with some things as you are stretched out and more or less relaxed. So in any case there is every reason to get up at least hourly to stretch and walk around, to focus your eyes on something far away, or even to shut them briefly to relax.

It seems that our life style even though we don’t think we are doing anything that is particularly risky behavior can shorten our shelf life unless we take steps to protect ourselves from a myriad of things that can be harmful. This is a good recent article on this subject below:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/much-sitting-linked-heart-disease-diabetes-premature-death-201501227618

Certainly those of us who work at home enjoy many freedoms that we might not feel comfortable in exercising if we are working for ‘the man’. It seems apparent that your larger corporations are more cognizant of things like ergonomics as they feel the bite when they have a lot of people out on sick time in addition to normal colds and flu, due to stress and pain. This can represent a massive loss of time and revenue.

Some smaller employers seem to have the attitude that ‘if you don’t like it you can leave’ when it comes to giving anybody extra space, time or resources to improve their health and well-being. They often have more of an attitude that you are being paid and that is all that they are responsible for. It is a very sad day that people have to put up with ogres because they need to put food on the table.

Since home business entrepreneurs are their own boss they should make sure to take care of themselves. This means to have good seating, good lighting, ventilation, etc. and definitely to get up and stretch and if possible walk every hour for a few minutes. Don’t look at it like slacking, look at it like if you get sick who will run your business?

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