Healthy Computing: SIS

Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with
Healthy Computing Email Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay
healthier while working.

Thousands of workers report feeling discomfort from working at the
computer. Complaints range discomfort of the arms, elbows, wrists and
hands, to neck, shoulder and back pain. This computer-related discomfort
is commonly referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI). However,
repetitive motion is only one of many components that contribute to
discomfort from working at the computer. In fact, a major component is
lack of movement combined with job stressstress immobilization syndrome
(SIS). Ease your computer-related tension and lighten your discomfort when
you avoid SIS.


Maintain your 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 when they take a 5 minute break each hour)

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

  • Eat lunch away from your 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 your meetings
  • Drink lots of water (then, youll have to walk to the restroom)
  • Take a 1-2 second micro-break every 30 to 60 seconds; drop your
    hands to your lap as you exhale

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

  • Change work tasks frequently during the day
  • Move your printer to another room so that you have to walk to retrieve
    your documents

  • Stand up when talking on the phone or when a co-worker stops by to speak
    with you
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Written by Erik Peper PhD

Explore Wellness in 2021