Being stuck at work all day is no excuse for skipping exercise. Simple and effective exercises can be done even whilst at work. Too many people work long hours inside an office and do not exercise before or even after work. This is a nationwide issue that affects our health as senior citizens, young adults and even our children.
If you work in an office, you would most likely be using a computer sitting down, staring at a screen, and making strange tapping motions with your fingers splayed out in front of you, trying to meet up with all those deadlines which may span up to seven to eight hours a day. If this sounds a little too familiar, you could probably use some help. I know you could.
Whilst there may be nothing wrong in giving your best to your company, your body is crying out for help! Sitting long hours may bring about backaches due to poor posture and eye strain, amongst other effects. Sometimes the office life can wear you down physically. Revive yourself occasionally with a few stretches and basic exercises. Don’t let Office Duty make you pay for larger uniforms or new work clothes (unless they are smaller ones!).
Here are some possible solutions or workarounds associated with the problems of office life:
SITTING ALL DAY: Don’t just sit like everyone else. Explore your options, which include-
- Standing workstation – Consider presenting your boss the data in that post as justification for standing. If he or she doesn’t go for it, you might have to rig up something yourself clandestine-style, or try something else entirely.
- Staying active throughout the work day – If you can’t hook up the standing station, then maybe you just get up every half hour and do stuff. Walk around, pump out a couple minutes of squatting, do some stretching. Break up your sitting and avoid long stretches of unmitigated motionlessness.
Mitigate the problem. Sitting will lengthen your hip extensors and tighten your flexors, but you aren’t helpless. You can fix the problem by strengthening your extensors and stretching your flexors.
The vast network of tendons and connective tissue running up your entire arm that supports the function of your fingers can get gummed up, especially when overworked in less than ideal conditions – like a forty-hour workweek. Poor typing posture, either from improper seating arrangements or inactive and tight muscles, can make things even worse. Obviously, you’ll want to correct the underlying postural/workstation/muscular issues, but what can you do for sore hands or fingers?
Here are a few suggestions below:
Nerve Glides –
- Sweep your arm out to the side until it is slightly behind you, palm facing forward, elbow gently straight
- Pull your wrist back until you feel a gently tension somewhere in the arm
- Relax the wrist forward until tension is relieved
- Repeat 10 times
- Ease the tension on the wrist to about half
- Holding this position, gently raise your arm until you feel tension (stay below shoulder height)
- Lower the arm until tension is relieved
- Repeat 10 times
- Ease the tension on the arm to about half
- Tilt your head (bring opposite ear towards opposite shoulder) until you feel tension
- Straighten the neck until tension is relieved
- Repeat 10 times
- Get a rubber band with decent tension, or perhaps a hair scrunchy. Take the affected hand and touch all five finger tips together, forming a sort of point. Slip the band or scrunchy around all five fingers and draw them apart against the resistance of the band. It’s like a reverse squeeze. Most people are far stronger gripping than they are going the opposite direction, so it’s worthwhile. Do this casually whenever you have time – in between emails, at home while watching TV, even while driving, you can keep it up with the off hand.
- Hand massages. Like with any muscle, deep massage will break up knots and improve function – and reduce pain stemming from poor function. Dig into your palm with a ball or even your knuckles, or have someone else give you a deep hand massage. Try this halfway through the day. Note how your hands feel typing, give it a good five-minute working over with the ball or knuckle, then try typing again.
Sitting plus typing plus intensely focusing on a screen a few inches below and in front of us has created a nation of slumped shoulders, protracted scapulas, unstable shoulder joints, and tight pecs. We still compound the issue with poor text messaging posture. Slumping shoulders will pull the rest of your spine out of order, simply because you’ve got the combined weight of your big head and upper trunk pulling down. Not good.
- Sit well
This involves sitting with your butt “behind” you, rolling your shoulders one at a time forward, up, back, and then down, and keeping a relaxed, upright torso.
- Where are you looking?
Whilst sitting, it would be most comfortable for you if your monitor were to be at or even slightly above eye level. This would help you look straight ahead without requiring downward head tilt, which often leads the rest of the upper thoracic into a slumping pattern – especially if you’re not vigilant and you’re prone to lapsing back into bad habits. If you’re standing, you’re not slumping, so slightly below eye level is perfect.
- Maintain your thoracic spine.
Consciously forcing yourself to keep your shoulder blades retracted won’t work forever. If you want it to stick, you’ve got to improve your thoracic spine at all times. Balance your horizontal pushing (bench, push-ups) with enough horizontal pulling (rows). When benching, doing pull-ups, or doing rows, keep those shoulder blades retracted (back and down).
All of the aforementioned office exercises can be done easily in five tot en minutes. Consider doing them right before your lunch break to boost your metabolism so you will be ready for a well-balanced light lunch or nutritious shake. Exercise is a lifestyle that allows you to give yourself the gift of health at home or even in your office. So keep on exercising – exercise is life!