Written by Kayla Huerta – Industrial Sports Medicine Professional

If your recent discussion around the water cooler consists of complaints about stiffness and fatigue, maybe it’s time to consider how you’re working.   Many of us spend a great deal of time sitting at our desks staring at a bright screen as part of our daily job duties.  Sometimes, our concentration on the task at hand may have let the hours pass by without our bodies really even moving an inch! The truth is, our bodies are not meant to be in one static position for a long period of time, and this can lead to stiffness or fatigue–especially when your career involves sitting in front of a desk.

Listed below are some helpful tips to remember throughout your workday to prevent overall stiffness, fatigue, and discomfort!

To prevent eye fatigue

  • Position the top of your screen at eye level
  • Have your monitor at arm’s length away from you

To prevent neck fatigue

  • Avoid sitting for longer than 30 minutes
  • Stand during phone calls or meetings
  • Drink enough water that you must walk to the restroom at least once every two hours
  • Set a timer/reminder on your mobile device or computer calendar
  • Use your non-dominant hand to operate the phone or opt for a hands-free device

To avoid back soreness and fatigue

  • Lock your desk chair in an upright position and use a lumbar support
  • Make sure your ear, shoulders, and hips are “stacked”. If you were to look at yourself seated from a side view, there should be an imaginary vertical line from your ear to your hip. This will place the curves of your spine in a neutral position.

To prevent wrist or forearm fatigue

  • For optimal comfort using your keyboard and mouse, your wrists should be at or slightly below elbow height and straight (neutral wrists).
  • Your elbows should rest naturally by your side when using your keyboard and mouse.  If they do not, pull your keyboard and/or mouse towards the midline of the body

Now, with these tips in mind, a general practice to follow is the 20/20 rule.

The 20/20 rule is as follows: after 20 minutes of staring at your screen, take 20 seconds to focus your sight on something at least 20 feet away from you. This simple rule will prevent eye, neck, back, forearm and wrist fatigue.  Add one modification at a time and allow your body to slowly adjust to your work space changes.

Remember to take those water breaks often, and the next time you find yourself at the water cooler, share these helpful tips with your colleagues.

InSite Health is an Industrial Sports Medicine Group, specializing in Injury care and prevention, Ergonomics and Healthcare education, and training designed for The Working Athlete™.  Learn more today, call InSite Health at 877-732-2262 or www.insitehealthteam.com