4 Useful Applications To Prevent Repetive Strain Injury While Using Your Computer

If your work require you to be in front of your computer for long period of time, there is a high tendency that you will suffer from repetitive strain injury (RSI)

Repetitive Strain Injury happens as a result of placing your hand/body in an uncomfortable position (such as typing on the keyboard or sitting in an improper way) that leads to tissue damage or muscle strain.

To avoid or reduce the risk of RSI, it is advisable to take a frequent short break and perhaps, walk around or do some simple exercise to relax your muscle. However, being as busy as we are, there’s always a tendency to forget about taking a break when you are too tied up with your work. The only way out is to use a software to force/remind us to take a break when necessary.

Linux

In Ubuntu, there is an inbuilt Typing Break function that you can use to autolock the keyboard in regular interval and lock you out of your system.

Go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard. Click on the Typing Break tab.

gnome-typing-break

Check the box “Lock screen to enforce typing break” and set the time for the autolock to set in. For best result, it is best not to check the box “Allow postponing of breaks

When the time is reached, the keyboard will autolock and you will see the screen below.

gnome-take-a-break

Window

In Windows (and also Linux), Workrave is a great and fun software that you can use to prevent RSI. There are plenty of configuration options in the Preferences menu that you can easily customize it to your needs. You can define microbreak (for short rest) and restbreak (for longer rest) and set the number of times it will appear daily.

workrave-preferences

There is also an animated character that shows you the instruction to exercise your body and relax your muscle.

workrave-exercise

Mac

In Mac, AntiRSI is a small application that you can use. There is no installation required. Once you start the app, it will run in the background and pop up a reminder when the time to take a break is reached. It does not lock your keyboard nor stop all your activities, but the obstructive pop up is enough to make you stop all your work and rest.

Timeout

Timeout is another software that you can use in Mac. It comes with more configuration options than AntiRSI, and the interface is more appealing than AntiRSI.

In the Preferences menu, you can define regular time break and micropause. There is also options for you to customize the interface, including the fade in/out time, color, effect and the sound to play at the start/end of the break.

timeout preferences

One interesting thing about Timeout is that you can set a custom script to run at the start/end of the break. I do not have any use of this function, but you could have something useful for this.

timeout break

What other software do you use to prevent repetitive strain injury in your computer?

Image credit: dead_squid