Countless hours in the office staring at a computer screen can really be taxing on the body, causing headaches, neck pain, back pain, and undue discomfort throughout the day. In this article I’m going to point out some great exercises you can do to help avoid or relieve neck and back discomfort without standing up from your chair. Getting up and moving around for about 5 minutes for every 1 to 2 hours of sitting is recommended; however, if the madness of the job has you glued to your chair, these exercises will help to relieve any aches and pains that are brought on by the postural compensations related to long hours of sitting. A great idea is to try and do an exercise while you are on the phone or waiting for the phone to be answered on the other end. In order to remain as productive as you would like to be at work it’s important to be comfortable, but if you are cross eyed from staring at a bright computer screen, have a pounding headache, and are constantly suffering from neck and back discomfort you will not be able to focus all of your attention on the task at hand. Take some time out for you, feeling better will result in increased productivity and job satisfaction overall.
Here are a few exercises to get you started:
1.) Neck Stretch-sit up straight, relax your shoulders, and tilt your head to the side bringing your ear towards your left shoulder. You should feel a stretch in your right upper trapezius muscle, which sits right on the top of your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 25 to 30 seconds and perform twice on each side.
2.) “Squeeze the Pencil”-pull your shoulders down and back as if you were trying to squeeze a pencil between your shoulder blades. You should feel your upper trapezius muscles (as mentioned above) relaxed and the muscles between your shoulder blades working. Hold each “squeeze” for 5 seconds and repeat for 10 repetitions.
3.) Upper Back Stretch-extend your arms in front of you and grab your right wrist with your left hand. Pull your arms forward while rounding out your upper back, releasing tension between the shoulder blades. Hold for the stretch for 25 to 30 seconds and repeat twice on each side.
4.) “Reach for the Sky”-interlock your fingers and reach your arms straight up over your head, locking out your elbows. Try to pull your arms as far back over your head as you can without discomfort and hold for 25 to 30 seconds, repeating twice.
5.) Low Back Stretch-sit up straight and place your left arm behind your left hip. Gently twist to the left using your right arm to pull you further into the stretch, hold for 25 to 30 seconds on each side.
For more information about how to create an ergonomically friendly work space email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com
Michelle Roots BA KIN, CSCS, PES