Sitting in front of a computer for extended periods of time can have a major impact on our bodies, from straining our eyes to cramping our back muscles, these ailments can have long-lasting effects. Not to worry, the solutions are quite simple and just require a small change to your daily habits. Below are some tips on how to avoid sore muscles when we have to work long hours in front of a computer.
Adjust your workstation
Every time you get to a new workstation, it is important to adjust it to your needs. Try and move items that you use frequently within your reach so that you don’t have to stretch or move in awkward angles to get them. Try and keep hard copy documents at eye level using a document holder so that you avoid slouching when reading. Keep your mouse and mousepad nearby and adjust any monitors or screens to eye level so you don’t have to strain your neck. This can be done by adjusting the arm of the monitors or even placing the monitors on top of some old telephone books. Make sure that the monitor is around 18” away from your eyes to avoid straining them.
Watch your eyes
Make sure that most documents or work-related items that require reading have a large enough font that you don’t have to strain your eyes to read. If you can, try and keep an adjustable light or desk lamp nearby so that as the light in the room changes, you can compensate to avoid putting further strain on your eyes. Make sure your monitor is also adjusted so it is neither too bright nor too dim. If you do feel your eyes straining, take a break from your screen and try to work on something else, or if your work permits, close your eyes or walk away from your desk. When you return, make sure to adjust the size of the text on the screen or the brightness to prevent further straining.
Posture is key
When sitting at a desk, using a good chair is vital. Find a chair that has specific lumbar support. You may need a lumbar roll, or even a rolled-up towel to support your waist. Sit with your elbows at ninety degrees and your forearms should be parallel to the floor. Your wrists should be kept straight, supported by a foam pad or your chair armrests. Your upper legs should be parallel to the floor as well and your feet should be flat on the ground. If you find that you can’t reach the ground properly, use a footrest or some old telephone books. If you use a telephone, try and get a headset to avoid straining your neck whilst cradling a handset.
Take a break
Whilst you may not be able to leave your office or desk as often as you’d like, taking a break from sitting can help relieve muscle cramps and tension. Every half hour or so you can stand up and stretch whilst working or even push back in your chair and stretch your legs out, allowing increased blood flow to the muscles which alleviates cramping.