Today’s working environment requires office workers to make thousands of keystrokes each day. Sitting at a desk and typing on a keyboard (or clicking mouse buttons) may look like a fairly benign activity, but it can result in chronic health conditions if you are not careful. Most common among the injuries caused by computer work are RPI (Repetitive Stress Injury) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. RPI most often strikes the hands and the wrists, but it can also cause back and neck injuries, shoulder strain, eye strain, and even spinal asymmetry. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a chronic and painful condition of the hand and the wrist caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist joint because of repetitive typing or mouse-clicking. Sitting for 8 hours each day for weeks, months and years takes its toll on your physical condition, as your muscles become stiff, your legs are cramped, and your joints lose their mobility.
Fortunately, there are some super-easy exercises that you can do every day right at your desk, and keep most of the health problems at bay. The following 5 exercises will also refresh your mind and make you more active.
1. Leg Raisers
Slide your chair back from the desk to create enough room for your legs. Sit upright with your back against the backrest of your chair. Raise each leg alternatively till it becomes parallel to the floor and at right angle with your body. Stretch your toe towards you and hold for about 2 seconds. Then, raise your leg as high as you can and hold for another 2 seconds. This exercise will relieve the tension in your thigh and calf muscles and improve the blood circulation in your legs. Repeat about 10 times for each leg.
2. Triple Bender
Stand up and turn your back on your desk (for a change). Stand at a slight distance and place your palms on the edge of the desk while facing away from it. Start to bend your elbows and knees and start to sit down slowly while putting your weight on you arms. Get to a position where your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Then, get back to your standing position. Do 20 reps like this. You’ll be relieving the stress in your arms, shoulders and back.
3. Carpal Tunnel Reliever
Stand at your desk and place your palms on it with your fingers pointing towards you. Lower your body till you feel the stretch in your wrist and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat through the day as needed to relieve the pressure on your median nerve. To find out more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, click here.
4. Back and Neck Stretches
There can be more than one kind of back and neck stretches that you can perform at your desk. Stretch your arms towards the ceiling. Slowly move your neck backward till you feel the stretch. Hold for 2 seconds. Place your left hand on the desk and hold the armrest of your chair with your right hand. Slowly twist your body towards the right side and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat for left side. For relieving the tension in your neck muscles, move your neck slowly sideways and try to touch your ear with your shoulder.
5. Shoulder Stretches
This is one of the simplest and most effective exercises for restoring flexibility to your upper torso and shoulders. Raise your arms above your head and hold your left wrist firmly with your right hand. Pull at your left arm and shoulder with your right arm and bend your body towards the right side. Keep your shoulders slightly bent forward as you pull and stretch. Hold in the stretched position for 10 seconds. Repeat for the left side.
You can do these exercises as many times as you want during the work day. They barely take a minute, but are very effective for maintaining flexibility and preventing stress-related traumas.
About the Author:
Dr Garry J McCLean writes on health and safety issues for a variety of UK-based magazines and websites and is the in-house writer for The Workplace Depot.