Combating Computer Fatigue: How to Protect Yourself
If your job has you sitting at a desk or computer all day, you’re probably beginning to feel the effects. And while some may say sitting isn’t strenuous at all, there are certainly pains and aches that a lot of us acquire from our daily desk jobs.
How do you avoid the fatigue, aches, and strains your desk job may be causing you? We have a few useful tips that should have you feeling better.
Eyestrain: If you look at a computer eight hours a day, you need to take care of your eyes. New research shows that people who sit in front of a computer for as little as two hours per day are at risk for Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
So what do you do? Here’s a good rule of thumb: The 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This relieves your eyes. When we’re reading or working at a computer, we tend not to blink as often. This can result in dry eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often.
Neck strain: Neck pain, stiffness, tight shoulder pain and upper shoulder tension – call it what you want. It all can be caused by your desk job. So how do you combat it? Become aware of how you’re sitting. Your elbows should be at 90-degree angles to your keyboard. If your shoulders are drooped to reach a low keyboard or they’re raised to reach a high desk, that constant tension could be causing your shoulder pain. Look for a keyboard tray or adjust your seat height to achieve the 90 degrees.
If neck stiffness or pain is the culprit, examine where your screen monitor is. It should be at eye level (or a tad lower) and straight ahead of you. If you’re working at looking at a monitor to the side, you’re going to feel it. Likewise, if you’re constantly tilting your neck up or down to see your screen, those movements add up. Adjust it properly.
Back Aches: A stiff back can ruin anyone’s workday, especially if you have a desk job. As more and more people use laptops over desktops, back pain is becoming especially common. Laptops weren’t initially designed for long-term use, and due to their design, people are often hunched over or seated in improper seating for such long-term work.
So what can you do if you’re suffering from back pain? Make sure that your seat is adjusted properly. You should be seated upright, and your feet should be planted flat on the floor. If they aren’t, look into buying a footstep for yourself.
Also, be sure that your lumbar is supported. Look into an ergonomic chair – especially ones made for computer work with adjustable armrests. You can even opt to sit on a stability ball, which naturally encourages you to sit upright. They’re also great for strengthening your abs while you sit and balance, which will help to strengthen your back muscles.
Lastly, get up and stretch your back every hour. A good rule of thumb is to stretch in the opposite direction of your slouch. So if you’re hunched over, arch your back to stretch those muscles in the opposite direction. Also, stand against a wall and push your shoulder blades back, again stretching those muscles in a new direction.
With these few tips, we hope that your eyes, neck, and back will feel better. No desk job should be painful, so keep these tips in mind and use them in your n