This guide gives you an overview of the fantastic “Workrave” app which can help prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury) that may occur while you’re using your computer.
RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is an injury to the arm or the hand caused by performing a simple movement over and over again. This is a common problem with people who type a lot, and is found quite often among computer programmers. In most case the manifestation of this injury is a form of cramping in the arms or the hand, but it can get a lot more serious and in some extreme cases it may leave you disabled.
There are a number of exercises that physiotherapists have worked out which prevent and aid in the recovery from this type of injury. I came across a software solution for this problem. Workrave is software that runs both on Linux as well as windows machines an helps you prevent RSI. By locking your computer screen after a fixed time interval Workrave forces you to take a break, a walk, and even perform some basic exercises to help prevent RSI.
To get started head over the Workrave download section and download the latest release of the application for your computer. Workrave is a free download. Windows installer binaries are available on the project’s website, Linux users can just try and see if their package managers have it in their database. Otherwise you can always download the source code and compile it.
Once you install Workrave you can open the preferences pane to set it to your requirements. Workrave has something called micro-breaks. It offers you these short breaks every once in a while. Using the preferences pane you can set the duration of the micro-breaks. There is a lot more of tweaking that can be done here.
I would recommend reading the FAQ which has a lot of information and valuable suggestions as to how to configure Workrave. What I did was that I began using the application with the default settings. As and when I felt a change was required I opened the preferences pane and made the change. As you can see in the image below Workrave not only takes care of you by locking you screen periodically. It also has fine demoes of exercises you should perform to help prevent RSI.