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32 19. What lifestyle changes can I make to reduce the chances of RSI?




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This article is from the Ergonomics and Typing Injury FAQ, by Dan Wallach dwallach@cs.princeton.edu with numerous contributions by others.

32 19. What lifestyle changes can I make to reduce the chances of RSI?

A. Two main themes permeate ergonomic study of RSI prevention; posture and
relaxation. Appropriate postures are necessary to keep the strain of
performing work in a near stationary position (static exertion) to a
minimum. But even the best postures can fall prey to overload when with
bad habits.

Relaxation is critical to the body's resilience, its ability to recover
from keyboarding. Office workload dynamics can have a great influence on
the risk of RSI. Try to promote office policies which emphasize steady
work load schedules and avoid, or at least distribute, crises deadlines.

Stretching and strengthening active muscles promotes relaxation.
Relaxation is as important for prevention of RSI symptoms as it is for
general well-being. Take a new, more active role in promoting your general
fitness both at and away from work. If you don't exercise regularly and
your over 40, get clearance from a physician to add walking, bicycling, or
swimming to your weekly schedule on three separate days.

Cut down on stimulants like coffee, sweets, or nicotine and spread healthy
snacks and water intake throughout the day. Keep water at your desk as it
makes for a smart microbreak. The first symptom of dehydration is fatigue,
not thirst!

Fruit and vegatable snacks prevent mid-morning and mid-afternoon blood
sugar drops. These dips can effect alertness, mood, productivity, and
decision making. A diet emphasizing complex carbohydrates, reliable
sleeping patterns, and time for yourself can do wonders for 9 to 5
productivity, not to mention your own well-being. All habits and practices
hat promote relaxation are necessary to stop the threat of RSI. Good Luck.

During doctoral research in Exercise Physiology/Biomechanics at the University
of Southern California, Jonathan completed groundbreaking electromyographic
(EMG) research on repetitive strain injuries to the forearm. He currently
moderates seminars, writes and speaks on ergonomic topics, consults for Los
Angeles firms, and continues further research at USC. Dr. Bailin can be reached
at 310/390-8309 or bailin@mizar.usc.edu.
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Requests for more info

Clearly, the above information is incomplete. The typing-injury archive is
incomplete. There's always more information out there. If you'd like to submit
something, please send me mail, and I'll gladly throw it in.

If you'd like to maintain a list of products or vendors, that would be
wonderful! I'd love somebody to make a comprehensive list of mice. I'd love
somebody to make a list of doctors. I'd love somebody to edit the above
sections, looking for places where I've obviously goofed.
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