Ergonomic Workstation Exercises
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that more than 650,000 office workers and employees take medical leave each year due to repetitive strain injuries causing muscle fatigue, pain, stiffness in their bodies. One of the reasons is that spending hours and hours each working day seated at one's workstation at the computer can lead to fatigued and painful muscles as well as stiff joints. Taking a few short rests and breaks (micro-breaks) throughout the day as well as doing some ergonomic workstation exercises can help to provide relief to overstrained muscles and joints as well as prevent too much strain and stress on our bodies.
Hand and Finger Stretches
Stretch your hands, fingers and wrist frequently to decrease stiffness and joint pains. Spread out your fingers like a fan and slowly curl them towards your palm (like a fist) whilst holding your wrist in a fixed position to stretch your fingers. Make a gentle fist and bend your wrist backwards towards your forearm until you feel a gentle stretch and hold the position for about 10-15 seconds. Then bend your wrist downwards towards the underbelly of your forearm and hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.
Moving and stretching your arms a few times a day during work helps with blod circulation and prevents muscles from tightening up from prolonged static positions. Bend one elbow and reach behind your head and use the other hand to grip the elbow and gentle pull until you feel a gentle stretch across your back and hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat with the other arm. Lace your fingers together and extend your hands and arms in front of your chest to stretch your arms and shoulders. Raise your arm to shoulder height, reach back and straighten your arm out to the side whilst extending your fingers to stretch the front of your arms, wrist and fingers.
Neck and Back Stretches
Prolonged sitting at your workstation for a couple of hours can create tension, tightness and pain in your back and neck. Change your position every hour (at least) and sitting slightly leaned back (your back should be around 105 degrees and not 90 degrees upright) with you back and neck aligned can help to prevent pain and fatigue. Do this exercise a few times a day: slowly shrug your shoulders towards your ears and then relax them to ease the tension and stiffness in your upper back and neck. Tilt your chin towards your chest until you can feel a gentle stretch along the back of your neck and hold for 10-15 seconds. Tilt your head left for 10-15 seconds, repeat with other side.
Put each arms at your sides and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together to relieve the tension in your upper back. Whilst sitting, cross one leg over the other leg at the knee and gently rotate your upper body in the opposite direction to stretch the middle and lower back.
Thigh and Legs Stretch
In sitting, use two hands to "scoop" the underneath of your left thigh. Gently raise it towards your chest until you feel a stretch, hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Straighten both knees, heels resting on the floor. Raise your foot up and down and around to promote circulation in your legs.
Do these ergonomic workstation exercises during each micro-break you take, we recommend at least once per hour to relief the tension and strain in your muscles and joints.
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