Latest posts

Getting to exercise

How Alexander Technique is getting me to exercise

For me, the hardest part of exercising is getting myself to the exercise. Whether it’s a trip to the gym, a yoga class or taking a walk, it’s the starting that I find most difficult. The reason for this is because I often spend my pre-exercise time fretting about doing the exercise. Am I too tired [...]

digital_de-clutter

Organize your mind with a digital de-clutter

I recently noticed that a friend has 711 unread emails in her inbox. I asked if it bothers her that she has so many messages waiting for action, and she admitted that it does. But, she said, I don’t have the time to deal with them, and even if I did, my responses would only [...]

lend_laptop_stand

Lend me your laptop stand

Go into any coffee shop, hotel lobby or co-working space, and you’ll see people bent over their laptops and smartphones. Every time I see someone typing and tapping away like this, I think: Wouldn’t it be great if we could borrow ergonomic accessories like laptop stands for use while we’re working (or just hanging out) [...]

smartphone mindfulness

Prevent pain with mindful smartphone use

Before you start reading this, take a moment to notice how you’re reading it. Are you leaning into or looking down at your screen? Are your shoulders rolled forward? Is your neck or back bent? What you have just done is start to bring the practice of mindfulness to your digital device use – a [...]

No smartphone

My life without a smartphone

Embarrassing confession: I don’t own a smartphone. To make calls, I use a 10-year-old little red Nokia. Why? Because I’ve got a repetitive strain injury. And using a phone that only allows me to make calls and send very short texts is one really big way I cut down on the taps and types, swipes [...]

Cell phone boss

Is your smartphone the boss of you?

“It was so relaxing – there wasn’t any phone signal and no internet.” This is how a friend described her recent holiday to me. Now be honest. When you find yourself in a place where you can’t connect, do you complain a little and then secretly smile at the relief of being free from your [...]

Recovering from repetitive strain injury

Recovering from repetitive strain injury

Being healthy has always been important to me. I try to eat well and exercise regularly, I don’t smoke and I limit the red wine (honestly), so I always thought I was doing ok health wise. I wish I had paid attention to the way that I used my desktop, laptop and phone, as they [...]

Mindful yoga

How mindfulness ‘switched on’ my yoga practice

I’ve been practicing yoga for 15 years, but today it was different. At the end of class, while we were all lying in corpse pose, resting as usual, the teacher said something that suddenly struck a chord with me. “Now bring yourself back into the room.” For the past year I’ve been doing a teacher [...]

Laptop, smartphone, tablet

Keeping employees safe in the evolving digital landscape

In 1992, sitting down to a desktop computer at the office was the full extent of most people’s daily interaction with digital devices. Times have changed. Today, most people use digital devices – smartphone, desktop, laptop, tablet – from morning ‘til midnight. And the workplace is no longer the nexus of that use. The UK’s [...]

prevent computer pain

How to protect employees from computer pain

Pain associated with the use of computers and other digital devices is now a common occurrence. It’s no surprise as all of us are on our devices from the moment we wake up in the morning until right before we shut our eyes again at night. (Or has the blue light stopped you sleeping altogether?) [...]

Laptop ergonomics

Ergonomics in the Evolving Workspace

Our offices are evolving. Where once we had one-worker-one-desk arrangements, we now have collaborative, fluid, frictionless, and bleisure workspaces. Some boast amazing features like pods for quiet concentration, tables that float away after hours to make room for events, and at Google’s Mexico City HQ, a ball pit. Innovations in technology are a big reason [...]

Ergonomic chair

It’s Not Your Chair, It’s You

When my repetitive strain injury became too painful to ignore anymore, I was using a top-of-the-range ergonomic chair, specially designed for computer use. I still got injured. Why? Because no chair can prevent musculoskeletal disorders such as repetitive strain injury. Back then, I sat with my legs crossed – Buddha style – up on the [...]

Sit-stand desk

Advantages (and disadvantages) of a sit-stand desk

I love my sit-stand desk. It truly has transformed my working life. After suffering a repetitive strain injury that left me in so much pain that I was unable to use my hands for a while, I now take good workstation set up very seriously. And my sit-stand desk plays a big part in keeping [...]

10 steps to comfortable computing

10 steps to comfortable computing

Here are ten things you can do to help keep you safe and pain-free while using digital devices: Try these easy steps for comfortable computing: Take a break from typing/mousing/scrolling – five minutes break for every 30 minutes of work Move around during those breaks – stand up, walk, stretch Make sure top of monitor [...]

My ongoing battle with repetitive strain injury

Here comes the pain again: My battle with repetitive strain

I’ve had a relapse recently. My repetitive strain injury flared up, and I was once again unable to work without terrible pain in my forearms, hands, shoulders and back. It happened because I stopped managing my condition as I know I need to if I want to be able to go on working. But I’d [...]

good iPad ergonomics

Six steps to good iPad ergonomics

Last week I visited a company that is giving all of its employees iPads. They told me that they felt this was a good way to circumvent the worry of ergonomics and safe workstation set ups. After all, they can stand up and move around all the time. They just take the computer with them! [...]

Is it ‘game over’ for healthy children?

Is it ‘game over’ for healthy children?

More than 33 million people in the UK play games regularly, and 55 million hours of games are played every day, according to the UK Interactive Entertainment Association, writes Jemima Kiss in the Guardian. With numbers like these, it’s safe to assume that a substantial portion of these gamers are young people. Kids today, just [...]

Tech neck: Are you breaking your own neck?

Tech neck: Are you breaking your own neck?

There are three behaviours concerning necks and the use of digital devices that I see all the time and marvel at why no one is worried about doing them. Squeezing phone between shoulder and ear This is the one that’s been around for so long, you’d think that there would be no one left who [...]

Start your own office stretching group

Start your own office stretching group

Lunchtime stretching groups are a great way to introduce more movement into the work day. It’s easy to do and doesn’t even require the lead of a trained yoga practitioner or any other kind of exercise expert. Participants can take turns leading the group using a stretching guide such as Bob Anderson’s excellent book, Bob [...]

Five tips to prevent computer pain in your kids

Five tips to prevent computer pain in your kids

As digital devices become more commonplace in our schools and computer users get younger and younger, it’s time we think about the likely proliferation of musculoskeletal problems among younger generations. Children and young people in school today never knew a time ‘BC’, or before computers. Because of this, their bodies have likely been subjected to [...]

Vaccinate your child against the next epidemic

Vaccinate your child against the next epidemic

Education is rapidly moving online. The traditional classroom make-up of rows of desks with real-life teacher at the front is fading as ‘mobile learning’ and ‘data-driven instruction’ become the norm. For example, educational vlogs produced by the Kahn Academy, a non-profit educational website, are viewed by more than 10 million people every month. The Rupert [...]

Protect yourself from ‘text neck’

Protect yourself from ‘text neck’

After 17 years, Sony is leaving the PC market. Instead, it will concentrate on tablets and smartphones as the market for these is expanding while the market for PCs shrinks. So, more of us will move to smartphones and tablets and as our digital devices get smaller, the ergonomic problems they present get bigger. ‘Text [...]

Hot-desking: The psychological and physical toll

Hot-desking: The psychological and physical toll

I am no fan of hot desking. It’s a big part of the reason I suffered a debilitating repetitive strain injury that forced me to give up computer work for several years. Ten years later, I still have to employ a laundry list of techniques to keep my pain under control—making it bearable so that [...]

Digging deep: A new approach to the workstation assessment

Digging deep: A new approach to the workstation assessment

When I do a workstation assessment, I start by watching my client at their workstation, working. I always take photos of the person working and will sometimes even film them. I do this because what people tell you they do and what they actually do are very often very different. Next, I talk to my [...]

Why most workstation assessments don’t work

Why most workstation assessments don’t work

Ten years ago, when the pain from my own repetitive strain injury (RSI) was too terrible to ignore anymore, my employer at the time got someone in to do a workstation assessment for me. The assessment took about 20 minutes during which the assessor asked me a series of questions about my workstation. These included: [...]

The panacea for computer pain

The panacea for computer pain

No chair—no matter how expensive or ergonomically correct it is supposed to be—will fit your back perfectly. And if your back (both upper and lower) isn’t flush up against the back of your chair, then you aren’t getting the support you need to sit and type comfortably for eight plus hours a day. Your back [...]

Is your tablet/smartphone killing you?

Is your tablet/smartphone killing you?

Randi Zuckerberg thinks we all need to spend a bit less time with our digital devices. In her new book, Dot Complicated, she notes some scary stats like: One recent poll found that a quarter of women would give up sex for a year to keep their tablet; 15% of us would give up sex [...]

Born To Move: Integrating movement into the workplace

Born To Move: Integrating movement into the workplace

We were born to move. Immobility is to the human body what rust is to the classic car. Stop moving long enough and your muscles will atrophy. Bones will weaken. Blood will clot. You will find it harder to concentrate and solve problems. Immobility is not merely a state closer to death: it hastens it. [...]

Lunch is not for wimps

Lunch is not for wimps

The crumbs of a thousand sandwiches are forever lodged in my computer keyboard because, like most people, I rarely take a lunch break. “Lunch is for wimps” in the words of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. Indeed, not much has changed since 1987 where lunch is concerned. Even if we do manage some [...]

Wrist alignment

Twist and mouse!

How long can you hold your arm out in front of you? An hour? Two? Try it. It won’t be long before it starts to ache. You certainly wouldn’t want to have to hold it there for eight hours. Yet that is exactly what we are doing at our desks when we reach out for [...]

repetitive strain injury prevention training

Walking meetings get you moving during the workday

When assessing people’s workstations, it’s a rare occasion when I come across someone who has NOT experienced some back pain at some time. More and more computer-based work means we are all sitting for most of the day and that usually means back pain. I recently came across a great blog, Sitting Is the Smoking [...]

Give your back a break

Give your back a break

Anyone who takes public transportation to work knows that getting a seat for the ride is one of those small personal triumphs that makes the daily commute that little bit less of a drudgery. When you sit, you’re less likely to get an elbow in the gut or an armpit in your face, but what [...]

A lesson from Andy Murray

A lesson from Andy Murray

When Wimbledon champion Andy Murray gets a pain in his elbow, does he shrug his shoulders and think, “oh well, it’s all part of the game”? No! He figures out why he’s getting the pain and he does something about it. So why do computer users assume that the pain they feel in their forearms, [...]