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Staying Healthy During "Sitting Season"
December is one of those intense “sitting-a-lot” times, as students prepare final papers/projects and study for final exams. Here are some tips to share as you help them stay healthy during this serious time…
At the Computer
When students are sitting, they are often at a computer. To help your student stay ergonomically healthy, encourage him to:
- Make sure the top of your monitor is at or just below eye level
- Keep your head and neck balanced and in line with your torso
- Relax your shoulders
- Keep elbows close to your body and supported
- Support your lower back
- Have wrists and hands in line with your forearms
- Make adequate room for your keyboard and mouse
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Take screen breaks every 20-30 minutes to give your body a break
For a detailed checklist to assess your computer workstation.
The Sitting Life
Studies are mounting that say sitting for long stretches of time can lead to a shorter, less robust life, as well as conditions like kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease. So, reducing the amount of time we spend sitting is necessary.
Tips to help reduce the amount of “sit time” include:
- Stand up for two minutes for every 20 that you spend sitting
- When watching TV, stand up during commercials
- Try to watch fewer than two hours of TV per day to be in a lower risk group
- Stand during telephone calls
Be sure to keep on exercising, too!
Sources: www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/; WebMD Health News, 10/15/12; The New York Times, 10/17/12
Computer Vision Syndrome
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nearly 80 percent of those working at a computer for more than two hours a day suffer from the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms include:
- Loss of focus
- Burning/tired eyes
- Double/blurred vision
- Neck and shoulder pains
Encourage your student to keep this in mind and to speak with his eye doctor about any symptoms he may be noticing.