Living in the digital age means many of us spend our days deskbound and we are unable to move as much as we should. Booking in a gym session or a Pilates class doesn’t always fit in with busy schedules and last minute meetings so how can we make sure we keep moving? The truth is you don’t have to be a gym-goer to fit in some exercise to your daily routine. In fact, you can work-out right at your work station. Sitting at a computer can have negative effects on our wrists, eyes, necks and upper limbs so it is vital we take the time to release muscle tension and keep ourselves mobile. We’ve got just the thing – try our top 7 discreet(ish!) deskercises you can do anytime you like.
1. Chest Stretch (sitting angels)
Sit back in chair and take and take support from the back rest. Elevate your shoulders to 90 degrees with your elbows at a right angle (like a dinner fork.) Raise your arms above your head whilst keeping them in line with your trunk, finish by tucking your elbows in to your side with your elbows at 90 degrees. Repeat 5 times.
2. Trunk Side Stretch
Place one hand on the edge of the chair for support with the other hand reach up to the ceiling and over the head and lean the trunk towards the supported hand. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat on other side.
3. Posterior Shoulder Stretch
Grasp the elbow of one arm with other hand, pull arm across chest to opposite shoulder to stretch the back of the shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat on other side.
4. Chin Tuck
Sitting tall, imagine you are suspended by a piece of string from the crown of your head. Keeping eyes level with the horizon, tuck your chin in to make a double chin. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat 3 times.
5. Forwards Press
Gently interlock your fingers, palms facing away from you. Press your palms away from your body, gently stretching the forearm muscles, fingers and muscles between the shoulder blades. Hold for 5 seconds.
6. Shoulder Shrug
Keep your shoulders back and lift them towards your ears, breathing in slowly. Tighten the muscles in your shoulders and hold for 5 seconds. Breathe out as you drop the shoulders. Repeat 3 times.
7. Trunk Rotation
Put your hands behind your head (don’t pull on head), whilst in good upright posture, turn your body to face the left and right slowly. Your hips and low back should remain still. Repeat 5 times. If you have a pre-existing musculo-skeletal disorder or medical condition it may be advisable to discuss these exercises with a medical professional before starting.
Try to do these exercises frequently throughout the day whilst sitting in your office chair. Doing these few exercises will help to reduce the risk of computer related pain. All the exercises should be done slowly, gently whilst sitting in a good upright posture. None of the exercises below should cause pain.
Article by Martine Cooper, Chartered Physiotherapist.