We have all been told that we shouldn’t sit at computers too long. It ruin our eyes, can cause wrist and back problems, and is accused of being one of the major causes of obesity. Even so, you need to get work done, and although you should plan regular breaks into your work period, sometimes you just have to work! Here are some tips I found that help reduce stress on your back, neck and eyes, as well as help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Sit properly in a good chair designed for desk work. Your back should be straight, and your head should be looking directly into your monitor. If you have to look down or up, you need to adjust the height of either the screen or your chair. If you keep leaning forward, first get your eyesight checked. If your eyesight is fine use a loose belt or string to tie yourself to the chair. After a while your posture will improve and you’ll no longer need this restraint.
- Maintain an ergonomic body posture while typing. Be sure your wrists are slightly lower than your elbows. This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Keep your legs bent at the knees so that the knees are only slightly higher than your hips. Feet should be flat on the floor or on a step stool of some sort.
- Stand up every half hour. Walk around a few steps, stretch your legs, and give your eyes a break from focusing on your computer screen. This will also help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Blood clots are very common among middle age people, who generally use the computer a lot.
- To stretch your neck, flex your head forward/backward, side to side and look right and left. Never roll your head around your neck. This could cause damage to the joints of the neck.
- Roll your wrists regularly (this will help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing).
- Recognize that people tend to hunch in front of the keyboard. To counter that, perform the following exercise: open your arms wide as if you are going to hug someone, rotate your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back. You will feel a stretch in the scapula area.
- Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Do this all day long while you are in your chair.
- Stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.
- Take advantage of the downtime created by rebooting or large file downloads to get up and try something more ambitious such as doing a few push-ups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks. Beware of your snickering co-workers though.
- Acquire a hand gripper. They are cheap, small and light. When you have to read something either on the screen or on paper, you probably won’t be using your hands very often so squeeze your gripper. It is an excellent forearm workout.
- Acquire an elastic band (also cheap, small and light) and use it to do the actions mentioned in step 8 (i.e., when stretching your arms, do it by pulling apart the elastic band). You will not only stretch but it will also work the muscles slightly.
- Take a few deep breaths. If possible, get some fresh air in your lungs.
- Invest in a large size stability ball or stability ball style desk chair, and sit on it with back straight and abs firm. The actual stability ball is more effective, however the chair is a more viable option for use in an office environment. Sit, bounce or do basic toning exercises while watching TV or talking on the phone as well. Use the actual ball form in moderation when typing, as this is probably not the most supportive seating to prevent carpal tunnel and tendonitis.
- While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down. Repeat these until your legs are comfortably tired. Then repeat it again about 10 minutes later. Do this whole routine for about an hour or so. This will exercise your calves.
For more information, visit: http://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-While-Sitting-at-Your-Computer
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