The list of benefits from advancing technology is virtually endless, but technology does have its drawbacks. A critical one is that as we spend more time sitting at our desks working on computers, we're suffering repetitive-strain injuries, neck and shoulder stiffness, and lower back pain at a rapidly rising rate. Bob Anderson, president of Stretching Inc. in Palmer Lake, Colorado, and author of Stretching at Your Computer or Desk (Shelter Publications), calls repetitive-strain injuries of the wrists, hands and arms the "workplace epidemic of the '90s."
The solution, according to Anderson, is simple and takes no more than a few minutes a day: stretching. He says one reason people don't like their jobs is because they don't feel well while working, but he believes regular stretching can change that. Anderson's book is an illustrated guide of stretches that can be done while sitting at a desk, standing at a copier or doing other office chores. A companion software package that will prompt your computer to remind you to stretch is being tested and should be on the market later this year. Stretching Inc. also offers a video, stretching posters and tools for self-massage.
Besides reducing workplace stress and minimizing repetitive motion injuries, Anderson says stretching has another important benefit: You'll feel better after work. "For a lot of people, work wipes them out," he says. "But there is life after work, and if people are stretching during the day, they may feel good enough when they go home to be more active." Stretching at Your Computer or Desk is available in major bookstores or by calling (800) 333-1307.