Take Ten

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Using a computer for long periods of time without a break can make your muscles stiff and sore. To decrease your chances of repetitive strain injuries, follow these suggestions:

Also check out Human Factors Guidelines for additional information on setting up your workstation.

Adjusting Your Chair

Adjusting Your Work Surface

Adjusting Your Monitor

Practicing Safe Work Habits

Take Frequent Short Breaks

Take frequent, short breaks. They're more effective than longer, less frequent breaks, because they increase circulation to the extremities and reduce muscle fatigue.

Here are easy exercises to try. They take only a few minutes. Stretch gently. Don't do any exercise that causes pain.

These exercises are not intended as a substitute for proper medical supervision. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing soreness, aching, numbeness, tingling, swelling, or weakness.

Head, Neck, and Shoulders

Head Tilts - Ear to Shoulder

  1. Tilt your head to the side and hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds. Feel a good, even stretch.

  2. Tilt your head to the right side and hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds.

  3. Bend your head backward, looking toward the ceiling and hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds.

  4. Bring your head back up slowly and relax.

Neck Glide

  1. Glide your head back, as far as it will comfortably go, keeping your head and ears level. If you do this correctly, you create a double chin.

  2. Now glide your head forward. You feel a little like a duck when you do this one.

  3. Return to normal.

Shoulder Circles

  1. Roll your shoulders forward five times in a wide, circular motion.

  2. Roll them backward five times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze - Upper Back

1. Rotate your arms to the back, pinching your shoulder blades together.

2. Relax - return to normal.

Below is another exercise for your upper back. (This one is good because it forces you to stand up and take a break!)

  1. Stand in a doorway.

  2. Place one hand flat on the wall on either side of the doorway.

  3. Move slowly forward, an inch at a time, until you feel a good stretch.

Hug Stretch/Arm Wrap

  1. Grasp one arm at the elbow.

  2. Pull the arm forward and across the body, as if you are hugging yourself.

  3. Repeat with the other arm.

Eye Roll

Look at the four corners of a large imaginary square, or roll your eyes in a circle. (People look at you a little strangely when you do this one.)

Wrists and Hands

Wrist Circles

  1. Hold your hands out, palms down.

  2. Make circles with your fingers by rotating your wrists.

Pyramid Stretch

  1. Start with your hands in a pyramid position.

  2. Slowly bring your arms down, staying together, until you feel a good stretch on the underside of your forearms.

Finger Fan

  1. Hold your hands out in front of you, palms down.

  2. Spread your fingers as far as is comfortable and hold for five seconds.

  3. Then make a tight fist.

  4. Relax.