The Importance of Micro Breaks

May 6th, 2011

Stiff neck? Sore hands? Desk job?

Repetitive stress and overuse injuries are very common amongst people whose primary duties require them to work on computers.  The truth of the matter is that most of these conditions are quite preventable.  In as little as 16 minutes spread out throughout your workday you can reduce your risk of these types of injuries and improve your productivity!

By taking small 30 second to one minute breaks (micro breaks) from sitting at the computer you give your body a chance to recover from postural strain that is placed on muscles and ligaments throughout the body.  It can be something as simple as getting a cup of water or sending a fax, to more complex stretching routines and postural exercises.

A common recommendation is to work at a computer desk continuously for no longer than  30 minutes at a time.  So set a small clock, or download a program to your work computer that will remind you to take your micro break every 30 minutes!

Some good ideas to force yourself to take micro breaks include:

– Taking phone calls standing up

– Use a smaller water bottle that needs to be frequently refilled

– Use the restroom

– Move your printer across the room so you have to get up to retrieve printed items

It’s that simple!

I encourage all of you to discuss micro breaks with your doctor to get better insight on proper stretching for the wrists, neck and low back as well as ergonomic advice to improve your quality of life in the workplace!