Taking a Micro-Break
A common advice that we get for workplace health issues related repetitive stress injuries (RSI) is to take frequent breaks. Usually, people suggest that a 5-minute break every 45 to 60 minutes. But what about 10-second breaks?
A lot of the stress comes from muscle fatigue. When muscles are fatigued then don’t do their jobs well. So they need to rest from time to time to recover. Achieving the right amount of muscle recovery at the right time not to difficult to understand. Muscles recover very quickly from low levels of fatigue but quite slowly from high levels of fatigue. Once your muscles become tired and sore, recovery takes a long time.
Recovery at frequent periods from low-level fatigue will take only around ten seconds whereas high levels of fatigue will take up to several hours. Think about how your body feels after a strenuous work-out.
One solution to muscle fatigue is micro pauses. They are very short breaks of 5 to 10 seconds every 4 to 10 minutes of repetitive motions (or stationary positions). Micro pauses relax you muscles and restore blood flow. These micro pauses are small changes in your working activity that allow you to adopt different postures, positions and eye focus.
The advantages of micro pauses
- They take very little time and can easily be developed to become a healthy habit.
- They prevent fatigue build up.
- They are taken before discomfort occurs.
- Micro pauses are the most effective and efficient breaks you can take, but remembering to take them is difficult.
Examples of what to do in a micro pause
- Look away from what you are working on and let go of the mouse if you are using the computer.
- Drop your arms to your sides, lean back and allow your shoulders to droop and relax.
- Pointing the hands towards the floor and gently shaking the wrists is a good idea.
- Do this for 5 – 10 seconds.