Chances are, many of you are pretty faithful to your work area. So faithful, in fact, that you spend most days shifting a mouse, cradling a phone against your shoulder--and keeping yourself planted in your chair.
All that loyalty might help your business, but your body probably won't appreciate a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. "Most of the people who get these injuries are sedentary and just use their wrist or elbow and not the whole arm," says Robert Rettig, DC, of Rettig Chiropractic in Irvine, California.
The solution? "I recommend taking a break every30 minutes to stretch," advises Rettig.
Take breaks, even if it means setting a timer to remind yourself. If all else fails, your computer can remind you: One program from Stress Away Software in Durango, Colorado, will pop up on your screen at designated times and demonstrate a stretching exercise. Download a trial version of the $39.95 software at http://www.stressaway.com
Watch your diet, too: Avoid fast foods and sugar, which can irritate your nervous system. Rettig recommends a diet rich in green vegetables. Exercise can also help: Muscle mass boosts the flow of oxygen to your muscles, helping them repair themselves efficiently. But Rettig cautions that exercises themselves can irritate your joints--so consult a professional before beginning an exercise program.
Some quick tips:
*Seat backs that recline slightly past upright can help reduce back-muscle fatigue.
*Keep your feet grounded or prop them up if they don't touch the floor.
*Place your keyboard and monitor right in front of you so you can look directly forward or slightly down. Ideally, your keyboard should be tilting down away from you with your mouse at the same height; your wrists should be flat.