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Computer Exercises

Quain's Top 10 for taking care of yourself during long hours in front of a computer.

  1. Get up and walk around! Take a 1 minute break from the computer every 30 minutes, and a 5 minute break every couple of hours. Go to the water cooler and catch up on office gossip.
  2. Learn the keyboard commands. Try to remember commands such as "Ctrl A" to mark text. Avoiding the mouse will preserve your wrist and forearm.
  3. Don't cradle the phone with your neck. If you're right-handed, put the phone on the left side of the desk so you hold the handset with your left hand and take notes with your right.
  4. Keep the screen clean. Dusting it off once a week will relieve eye strain.
  5. If it hurts, don't do it. Pay attention to your body. If your wrist aches, print out so you can get away from the computer.
  6. Have your eyes examined regularly. Slaving over a hot CRT only exacerbates improperly corrected vision.
  7. Change your gear. From time to time, switch to different keyboards and pointing devices. The more variety you put into your computer work the better.
  8. Be kind to your mouse. By using a light grip, you won't tense the muscles and tendons in your arm.
  9. Keep warm. Colder muscles and tendons appear to be more susceptible to RSI.
  10. Is it just your office? Repetitive activities such as playing a musical instrument can cause RSI. You might have to make some changes outside of work.

A version of this article appeared in the August/September 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.