Healthy Computing: RIS

Repetitive motion is only one of many components that contributes to
discomfort at the computer such as neck, shoulder and arm tensions or
tiredness. In many cases other factors such as ergonomics, stress, workload,
responsibility without control, lack of awareness, absence of social
support and lack of movement significantly contribute to discomfort.
Instead of describing the discomfort as repetitive strain injury (RSI),
describe it as restrictive immobilization syndrome (RIS).

How to avoid RIS:

Avoid RIS and maintain health by frequently changing activities and
performing movements. Do some of the following:

  • Every hour take a 5-minute break (studies at the Internal Revenue
    Service show that employees report significant reduction in symptoms
    without loss in productivity)

  • Leave your computer station for the 15-minute mid-morning and
    mid-afternoon breaks

  • Eat lunch away from the computer workstation
  • Take a short walk or do other movements instead of snacking when feeling
    tense or tired

  • Have walking meetings, or walk during part of the meeting
  • Drink lots of water so that you have to take a movement break
  • Practice micro-breaks every 30 seconds for 1 second by dropping your
    hands to your lap

  • Perform a stretch, strengthening, relaxation, or mobilization movement
    every 30 minutes

  • Change work tasks frequently during the day
  • Stand up when talking on the phone

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for
personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing
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Avatar Written by Erik Peper PhD

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