Healthy Living Roadmap For Online Entrepreneurs Part I Create A Healthy Office Space

Healthy Living Roadmap For Online Entrepreneurs Part I Create A Healthy Office Space
Being an online entrepreneur is exciting and absorbing. The amount of time you spend developing your business can cause you to lose sight of or have trouble finding time to maintain your health. We have developed this five part series especially for online entrepreneurs. We will address the unique challenges you face in maintaining a healthy lifestyle while conquering the Internet. We begin with a look at your office environment.

Are you spending much of your day working on the computer? If so, you need to take some special care to stay healthy.

Ergonomics

One of the most common problems that people who work on computers fall victim to is ergonomic injuries. Home workers often use cobbed together office arrangements that have not been organized to reduce strain. These arrangements increase the likelihood of becoming injured. For example, if your seat does not raise your body to the right level, your arms will be in poor position, placing a strain on your wrists as you use the keyboard. If you remain in poor position over time, you may develop problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This type of injury is painful and sometimes requires surgery to correct. Neither is good for your online business. And by the way, if you have employees, you need to be aware of these issues as well. If your employee sustains a workplace injury such as tendonitis, it can become your responsibility.

Monitors

Monitor placement can affect both the eyes and the musculoskeletal system. The following suggestions can help prevent the development of eye strain, neck pain and shoulder fatigue while using your computer workstation:

Make sure the surface of the viewing screen is clean.
Adjust brightness and contrast to optimum comfort.
Position the monitor directly in front of user to avoid excessive twisting of the neck.
Position the monitor approximately 20 to 26 inches (arms length) from user.
Tilt top of the monitor back 10 to 20 degrees.
Position monitors at right angles from windows to reduce glare.
Position monitors away from direct lighting which creates excessive glare or use a glare filter over the monitor to reduce glare.
The top of the viewing screen should be at eye level when the user is sitting in an upright position (NOTE: Bifocal wearers may need to lower monitor a couple of inches).

Chair

Sitting for long periods of time can cause increased pressure on your spine. Plus, gravity tends to pool blood in the legs and feet and create a sluggish return to the heart. These recommendations can make a more comfortable sitting experience:

Dynamic sitting, do not stay in one static position for extended periods of time.
When performing daily tasks, alternate between sitting and standing.
Adjust the height of your backrest to support the natural inward curvature of the lower back.
It may be useful to use a rolled towel or lumbar pad to support the low back.
Set the backrest angle so that your hip torso angle is 90 degrees or greater.
Adjust height of chair so feet rest flat on floor (use footrest if necessary).
Sit upright in the chair with the low back against the backrest and the shoulders touching the backrest.
Place thighs parallel to the floor and knees at about the same level as the hips.
The backs of your knees should not come in direct contact with the edge of the seat pan (there should be 2-3 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of the knee).
Do not use armrests to slouch.
Adjust the height and/or width of armrests so you can rest your arms at your sides and relax your shoulders while keyboarding.
Where armrests are used, elbows and lower arms should rest lightly so as not to cause circulatory or nerve problems.

Desktops for Computer Workstations

If you are like many computer users, your computer, keyboard, and mouse are resting on your desk or a portable computer workstation. The working height of your desk should be approximately elbow height for light duty desk work.

To allow for proper alignment of your arms your keyboard should be approximately 1 inch to 2 inches above your thighs. Most times this requires a desk which is 25 inches to 29 inches in height (depending upon size of individual) or the use of an articulating keyboard tray. Keep the area underneath your desk clean to allow for stretching.

Keyboard and Mouse

Many ergonomic problems associated with computer workstations occur in the forearm, wrist, and hand. Continuous work on the computer exposes soft tissues in these areas to repetition, awkward postures, and forceful exertions. Make these adjustments to your workstation to help prevent the development of an ergonomic problem in the upper extremities:

Adjust keyboard height so shoulders can relax and allow arms to rest at sides (an articulating keyboard tray is often necessary to accommodate proper height and distance).
Keyboard should be close to you to avoid excessive extended reaching.
Forearms parallel to the floor (approximately 90 degree angle at elbow).
Mouse should be placed adjacent to keyboard and at the same height as the keyboard.
Avoid extended and elevated reaching for keyboard and mouse. Wrist should be in neutral position, e.g., not over extended or flexed.

Exercise Breaks

Once you have created a comfortable and ergonomically safe workspace for yourself, you need to schedule in some opportunities to take micro breaks that allow you to stretch and change positions. These exercises, recommended by the U.S. Division of Occupational Health and Safety, can be easily accomplished; those few minutes can save you and your business from painful and costly injuries.

Sidebend: Neck Stretch

lt head to one side (ear towards shoulder)
Hold for 15 seconds
Relax
Repeat 3 times on each side

Diagonal Neck Stretch

Turn head slightly and then look down as if looking in your pocket
Hold for 15 seconds
Relax
Repeat 3 times on each side

Shoulder Shrug

Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold for approx 3 seconds
Rotate shoulders back and down
Repeat 10 times

Executive stretch

While sitting, lock hands behind head
Bring elbows back as far as possible
Inhale deeply while leaning back and stretching
Hold for 20 seconds
Exhale and relax
Repeat 1 time

Foot Rotation

While sitting, slowly rotate each foot from the ankle
Rotate 3 times in one direction, then 3 times in the opposite direction
Relax
Repeat 1 time

Wrist Stretch

Hold arm straight out in front of you
Pull the hand backwards with the other hand, then pull downward
Hold for 20 seconds
Relax
Repeat 3 times each

Pay attention to the ergonomic organization of your office and take micro breaks during the day to stretch and relax a little prevention goes a long way.

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