Don’t Let Your Body Go Bad on You When You Work From Home
Translation (along with lots of other careers) means hours at a computer. The upside is you can take your computer and, with a Wi-Fi connection, work most anywhere. The downside is hours staring at a screen, hours of typing, and hours of sitting in the same position.
We now know of the many ailments and injuries that can come from sustained computer work – poor circulation, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, back, shoulder and neck pain, etc. Fortunately, we also know of some of the remedies for these conditions.
Here are tips for keeping your body fit and preventing what can become pretty serious and debilitating conditions. Take heed.
1. Change Out Your Sitting Positions – Desks and Chairs
There are a lot new furniture options, now that the medical experts have weighed in on sedentary positions and their risks. One of the most important things to do is change your body position by changing your desk and chair height, so that you sit differently.
There are desks that are adjustable, so that you can change heights throughout the day. You will also need chairs or stools with different heights. And, one really great thing about adjustable desks is that you can stand and write too – this should be a position you choose for a part of your day. Some people even work while sitting on a Yoga ball for periods of time. The great thing about a Yoga ball is that you have to maintain good posture to stay on it!
2. Ergonomic Devices
There are ergonomic keyboards that can mitigate some of the wrist issues involved with continued typing. Make sure you get one, no matter what other type of device you are using. And you can change the physical position of a keyboard by propping it up at an angle. This forces your wrist into other positions, and that is a good thing.
Of course, the other option, if you have the skill, is to use a voice-to-text tool that will eliminate some of your typing time.
3. Your Screens
If you use a small screen, the eye strain will be greater. While it may not physically damage your eyes to do this, it will cause you to tire faster. If you are working with a smaller laptop screen and you are in “Word,” you can increase the type size, no matter what font you are working with. This will help. Just be certain that you have a type size you can read easily.
4. Exercise and Movement – It’s Not Optional
It’s so easy to neglect exercise. A great translation service has sent you a project, and you want to endear yourself to them by dong a “bang-up” job and exceeding the deadline. So, you commit to sitting at that computer for hours, with your coffee or energy drinks, hammering out the best translation work you have ever done. Not good.
The most common advice is that you need to move every 30 minutes, although 50 minutes seems to be what most computer-bound people adhere to. The idea is this: every so often, you must get up and move about. This keeps circulation moving, and gives you the chance to move parts of your body that have been in a fixed position.
You can do this in many ways. If your phone rings, stand up to answer it and walk around while you hold that conversation. If you get up to get more coffee, extend that time by just a few minutes – do a few jumping jacks or stretch your body by reaching for your toes.
Another important aspect of movement is doing something for a more sustained period of time. This may be walking your dog a couple of times during the day or committing to a routine at your local gym. The important concept is that you get your larger muscles moving and exercised.
Here’s a great tip: If you are not familiar with planks, get familiar with them now. You can do these at home, and will only consume 45 – 90 seconds of your time. The beauty of a plank is that it stretches and pulls on every muscle in your body. The singer/actress Cher swears by them and says that is the mainstay of her exercise program. Plans are simple and require no equipment – get on them.
You only get one body. And you want it to “work” for you your entire life. Be kind to it, exercise it, feed it right, and it will reward you with good health.
© 2017 Dina Indelicato