Becky Hornyak, Indexer 
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Tips for a Healthy Office
Sedentary lifestyles have been associated with health risks such as weight gain, heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. The American College of Sports Medicine says that “Sedentary behavior—sitting for long periods of time—is distinct from physical activity and has been shown to be a health risk in itself. Meeting the guidelines for physical activity (30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio five days a week, two or three weekly sessions of resistance training, plus stretching and balance exercises) does not make up for a sedentary lifestyle.”* Consumer Reports Health says that “Research has found that long periods of inactivity, particularly sitting, can increase the chances of getting cancer even among people who exercise every day.” The article suggests taking a short walk every 60 minutes; keeping light hand weights nearby to use while reading mail or when on the phone; walking when talking on the phone; and using a wall for simple activities like stretches, vertical push-ups, and leg lifts.**
Indexers have adapted to the challenge of working in front of a computer by finding ways to stand while working, including standing and treadmill desks. Sitting for periods of time on physioballs, rather than chairs, requires balance and constant working of the core muscles around the spine. While sitting in chairs, thighs should be parallel to the floor and feet should be flat on the floor or on footrests.***
The latest research says that it's important to work up to standing for 4 hours a day****, and to aim for walking 10,000 steps a day.*****

Monitors should be positioned so that the top of the screen is in line with the eyes and arms’ length away from the body. Staring at the screen for long periods of time can lead to eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes, so it’s important to take visual breaks by looking at things farther away, such as the view outside a window, approximately 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Be aware of sources of glare and reduce it. Black text on a white background is easiest to read, and the font should be adjusted to 2-3 times the size of the smallest text that can easily be read.*** Use copy holders to keep pages upright and in line with the screen.

Keyboards should be positioned so that arms are bent at a 90 degree or larger angle. Wrists should be in a neutral, or straight, position, not resting on wrist rests. Shoulders should be relaxed, with elbows at sides, and not on arm rests.*** Consideration could be given to ergonomic keyboards and mouse alternatives, as well as to using keyboard shortcuts or macros to decrease the amount of keyboarding.
Consumer Reports, in the September 2017 issue, discusses the importance of the task chair and standing desk, and also recommends proper posture for using a laptop in bed ("Healthy Work Habits" on page 15). 

* “Are we gonna stand for this?” by Lenny Bernstein, The Washington Post, July 14, 2011

** “Standing up to fight cancer” in Consumer Reports Health Newsletter, January, 2012

***, August, 2012
**** "Putting your best foot forward," by Brigid Schulte, The Washington Post, June 3, 2015
*****Flourish by Martin E. P. Seligman, 2011, Free Press, New York, NY

  Exercise is important, too. Being close to the Smoky Mountains with many wildflowers like these Crested Dwarf Irises makes hiking and walking regularly much easier!

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