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By Cindi Lynch
Reporters and scopists spend a significant portion of their lives in a seated position. You sit when you write. You sit when you edit. When you’re not working, you most frequently want to sit and relax! The problem is too much sitting can be the source of a number of long-term problems: weight gain, back issues, poor circulation, muscle degeneration, high blood pressure, and additional more serious issues as you get older. The physical stress from long-duration sitting can also result in pain, even if you have no injuries and the best ergonomic chair, and fatigue even though you’ve had plenty of sleep.
The easiest and least expensive way to relieve the short-term symptoms and prevent long-term damage is actually quite simple: find opportunities to get up and move whenever you can. When you are in proceedings writing, rather than stay in your chair and edit, take advantage of any pauses or breaks in the proceedings to move. At the very least, stand up. If possible, do some gentle stretching. If it’s a longer break, take advantage of the time to take a walk.
When you are editing, it’s easy to get focused and not move for hours in the name of getting pages done. However, if you stand for at least a full minute once per hour, you will be healthier. If you take a five-minute break each hour and walk around, you will find yourself more alert and more focused during the other 55 minutes and accomplishing as much or more than if you didn’t take a break at all.
Regular movement is extremely important for short-term and long-term health and provides the stamina you need for this career! If you enjoy serious exercise like running, lifting weights, riding a bicycle, going to the gym, or taking a class, that’s fantastic. However, for many people, any or all of that sort of activity sounds like torture! That’s okay but you do need to find an alternative that you enjoy. Exercise for a healthier career doesn’t have to be a program or a particular set of movements. What’s most important is to find something that involves movement that you enjoy. Walk and listen to your favorite music or podcast. Take the dog with you. Play a song with a good beat and dance for a few minutes. Cleaning your home can involve plenty of movement: wash a window or a floor or walk with a vacuum cleaner or sweep with a broom.
Just move. Think about it and make time for movement. Studies indicate that this will help you stay healthier, prevent and/or reduce the experience of pain and fatigue, improve your clarity and ability to focus, and generally make life more pleasant.
Cindi Lynch, Stenograph’s Training Program Manager, has trained thousands of court reporters, captioners, CART providers, scopists, teachers, and students all over the English-speaking world on a variety of CAT and other software applications for nearly 30 years. She manages Stenograph’s Certified Independent Training Agent Program, is the author of nine Case CATalyst Self-Study Guides, the Exceptional Extras files and documents included with Case CATalyst, and Stenograph’s video training series. Cindi is also the primary online liaison for Stenograph on StenographHelp.AskBot.com, Facebook, and various other social media sites for machine shorthand professionals and students.
Originally published December 3, 2019, on blog.stenograph.com and reprinted here with permission.