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ealthy Computing Tips

Healthy Computing: Stress Immobilization Syndrome

© Erik Peper PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by Erik Peper PhD. View all columns in series
Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with Healthy Computing Email Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay healthier while working.

Many employees experience discomfort from working at the computer. This discomfort is commonly referred to as repetitive strain injury. However, repetitive motion is only one of many components that may contribute to discomfort. A more significant factor is the lack of movement. We are dynamic beings, requiring movement to “oil” our muscles and joints. Stop the debilitating effects of inactivity and learn skills to avoid STRESS IMMOBILIZATION SYNDROME.


Maintain your health by frequently changing activities and performing movements. Do some of the following:

  • Every hour take a 5-minute break (studies at the Internal Revenue Service show that employees report significant reduction in symptoms without loss in productivity when they take a 5 minute break each hour)
  • Leave your computer station for the 15-minute mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks
  • Eat lunch away from your computer workstation
  • Take a short walk or do other movements instead of snacking when feeling tense or tired
  • Have walking meetings or walk during part of your meetings
  • Drink lots of water (then, you’ll have to walk to the restroom)
  • Take a 1-2 second micro-break every 30 to 60 seconds; drop your hands to your lap as you exhale
  • Perform a stretch, strengthening, relaxation, or mobilization movement every 30 minutes
  • Change work tasks frequently during the day
  • Move your printer to another room so that you have to walk to retrieve your documents
  • Stand up when talking on the phone or when a co-worker stops by to speak with you

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About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco State University. He is President of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe (2005) and past President of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.......more
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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.