Monday, October 30, 2006

Small changes mean big help for your body

General rules for living an ergonomic lifestyle ...

"Good health isn't just in the details, but small things can certainly add up.

Eat 100 calories extra a day and you could weigh 10 pounds more at the end of the year. Wearing the same shoes every day can strain your body. Regular exposure to subway noise can not only affect your hearing, but also raise your blood pressure and levels of stress hormones. A poorly organized workspace can result in back and neck discomfort that shouldn't be ignored.

"Those little aches and pains — that's your body telling you something isn't right," says Alan Hedge, Ph.D., professor of ergonomics at Cornell University.

Fortunately, you don't have to overhaul your life to keep small problems from becoming big ones. There are lots of easy ways to take some of the burden off of your body — marginal changes that won't disrupt conference calls, tennis games or dining plans.

Taking an extra minute to pack your luggage symmetrically and carefully remove your carry-on bag from a plane's overhead compartment, for example, can prevent months of unnecessary back pain, says Dr. Leon Benson, associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"It's OK for those people behind you to wait in the plane another 10 seconds," he says. "The fact is, if you stretch a muscle in your back, people will actually wind up missing work, and they can't sleep properly. It makes a huge difference."    (Continued via MSNBC.com)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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