Regular exercise is very important to avoid – or treat – back problems, muscle weakness and, over time, arthritis. There are, however, simple things we can do to avoid or reduce some of the issues resulting from spending hours at our desks.
1. Take Breaks To Reduce Eye and Back Strain
If you have to work on a computer more than 3-4 hours a day, you must protect your eyes. Experts suggest to blink often and look away from your monitor every half-an-hour. You should also stand up and take a coffee break, walk and ease your body posture.You can walk while you’re on the phone, walk to communicate with others in your office (instead of e-mailing), and even conduct walking meetings. In doing so, your body gets proper movement and blood flow, thus contributing to your good health.
Not only your body will benefit from these small breaks. When you work continuously, your mind ignores small changes as it gets used to them, and you may miss some important details. After returning from a break, everything appears new to the mind and it notices small changes again and you will be more productive.
2. Breathe from your belly
To help your posture, you can practice some breathing exercise.
- Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest to ensure the correct execution of this exercise.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
- Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale slowly. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.
4. Exercise at Your Computer
I found these exercises that you can do at you desk on the University Health Service website. If practiced regularly, they will help you keep your back, neck and joints flexible and healthy.
Neck Rotation: Slowly rotate your head as far as comfortable to the right, then left.
Shoulder Rotation: Circle your shoulders, then reverse directions.
Head Side to Side: Bend your neck so left ear approaches left shoulder, then repeat for right. Add a little resistance by pressing your hand against the side of your head.
Chin Tuck: Slide your chin inward, without bending your neck up or down. This is easiest to practice initially against a wall. Tuck chin in, attempting to touch back of neck to the wall while also maintaining head contact. Don’t jam your chin down to your chest.
Shoulder Blade Retraction: Pull your shoulders down and back.
Shrug: Slowly raise your shoulders toward ears and hold for a few seconds. Gradually bring shoulders down and relax.
Shoulder Squeeze: Raise your arms in front of body, with elbows bent and thumbs up. Pull elbows back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds then release.
Stretch Up: Sit up straight and imagine a cable attached to the top of your head. Gradually stretch to be as tall as possible, hold for a few seconds, then relax.
Arm Relaxation: Drop your arms and hands to your sides. Gently shake them for a few seconds.
Arm Rotation: Raise your arms in front of your body. Rotate arms so palms face up, then rotate so backs of hands face each other.
Wrist Flex: With your elbows on desk, gently use left hand to bend right hand back toward forearm. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat on other side.
Finger Fan: Spread your fingers as far apart as possible, hold, then clench fists, then release.
Toe Curl: Flex toes up, then curl toes under. Release.
Foot Rotation: Circle foot slowly from the ankle, then reverse.
4. Keep Reminders To Drink Water
I don’t know you, but when I’m very concentrated on a project, or writing, or focused on a creative task, I tend to forget about drinking and I easily feel dehydrated. This is really bad for our body that is mainly made of water. So here are some ways that can help your remind to drink water when you are working.
- Set a phone alarm to sound or vibrate every hour.
- Send yourself a voicemail or text message reminder.
- Schedule an appointment in your calendar to drink water.
- Use a pop-up reminder on your computer.
- Send yourself an e-mail reminder.
- Keep post-it note reminders where you’ll see them.
Keep water in sight
- Keep water in your desk drawer or on your desk.
- Keep a drinking glass in places you will see it.
Now it’s your turn. What do you do to be more comfortable at your desk and to avoid back and neck strain and the other conditions resulting from spending long hours at the computer?
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To your success and prosperity