Healthy Computing: Do the Opposite

Do you usually reach to one side to answer your telephone? When standing
up, do you generally turn in the same direction again and again? As you
reach for reference material, do you repeatedly use the same hand? Habits
of movement may seem convenient but, in the long run, may contribute to
imbalanced movements that may lead to stiffness and discomfort. Loosen up
those muscles and joints and increase your brain cells’ dendritic
connections when you DO THE OPPOSITE.

HOW TO DO THE OPPOSITE:

Change how you move by consciously exploring different ways of performing
your daily activities. Observe if you:

  • Answer the phone with the same hand?
  • Stand up facing the same direction?
  • Get out of bed on the same side?
  • Reach for the printer with the same arm?
  • Eat with the same hand?
  • Sit in the same chair during group meetings?

Explore how you could do these activities differently:

  • Place the phone on a different location on your desk.
  • Talk on the phone while standing up or performing a simple movement
    exercise, such as squats.

  • Alternate directions and consciously alternate which foot to lead with
    when standing up.

  • Get out of bed on the opposite side; if you sleep with a partner, trade
    places at night (good luck).

  • Use your non-dominant arm to retrieve papers from the printer.
  • Alternate hands when eating, cut with the opposite hand (ok, you can
    practice this one when in private!)

  • Sit on different sides/ends of the conference table, or in different
    chairs during meetings.

  • Explore how you can do things differently: pouring coffee, driving home,
    walking across campus.

Copyright 2002 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney

Avatar Written by Erik Peper PhD

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