Repetitive strain injury, or RSI, is a term which was developed to describe an epidemic of work-related arm and hand pain reported in Australia in the 1980s. While work-related arm and hand pain was and still is common, this particular epidemic was unusual in that it involved workers not previously considered as being at risk.
You probably know whether or not you’re near-sighted, but some people get so used to seeing things a certain way that they ignore a vision problem, squint a lot, and end up with unnecessary eye strain at the computer.
Although I don’t suffer from serious RSI, I’ve always favoured ergonomic keyboards because they offer an easy way to force myself to keep my hands in the correct posture to avoid wrist pain. The problem though, is that most ergo keyboards are chunkier and taller, which is bad for people who like laptop-like low profile keyboards. Microsoft’s Comfort Curve 3000 is a meshing of the two ideas.
Windows only: Free application EyeDefender regularly reminds you to take breaks and walks you through eye exercises to help you avoid headaches and blurred vision of the dreaded computer vision syndrome. EyeDefender is a simple program, allowing you to set breaks whenever you need them. If RSI is more of a problem for you than eyestrain, you may prefer previously mentioned WorkRave. EyeDefender is free for private, non-commercial use, Windows only.EyeDefender [via Download Squad]
When you sit at your desk all day long at work, it’s hard to stay healthy. The Diethack blog covers a few ways to be good to your body while you sit at your desk at work, like reducing repetitive movements: Movements that you repeat over and over (such as answering the phone or reaching for a book) can lead to strains and stress. Reduce unnecessary movements as much as possible by keeping items you use often within arm’s reach and using tools, such as a phone headset, to reduce repetitive movements. You should also alternate the hand you use to operate your computer’s mouse.
If your mouse hand is starting to feel a bit stiff, check out our previously posted feature on how to teach yourself to mouse “goofy.” How to Stay Healthy While Sitting at Your Desk All Day [Diethack]
Windows only: Keep your mouse cursor from obscuring your text as you type with lightweight, freeware application MouseAway. As you can see from the animated GIF, MouseAway does just one thing: monitors the proximity of your mouse pointer to your keyboard cursor and, if they’re too close together, moves the mouse pointer out of the way. As is, mouse cursor obstruction has never been that big of a deal, but for a paltry 40K of RAM after running for a bit, MouseAway is easily worth a slot in your startup apps. It doesn’t work everywhere (like Firefox, for example), but this freeware, Windows only utility cuts down on unnecessary keyboard-to-mouse movement.MouseAway [via NoHeat]