Don’t have time to exercise? Do it while you work!
There are simply not enough hours in the day. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Most of us struggle with busy schedules, too many time demands, and work tied to the desk. That doesn’t help with the aches and pains (tight necks, back pain, sore shoulders, tired muscles) that many people face every day. It is quite common for people who are “tied” to their desks and “chained” to their computers to suffer from chronic pain and stiffness. Too many hours sitting in stationary positions, reaching toward computer screens, and performing repetitive movements like typing and running a mouse can cause damage and weakness to muscle tissue. Stress can also cause overuse of certain muscle groups, resulting in tissue damage and pain.
One thing that can definitely help to strengthen muscles and relieve stress, counteracting the effects of too many hours of a sedentary lifestyle, is exercise. But who has the time? And even if we dedicate several hours a week to healthy exercise (highly recommended and beneficial), it may not be enough to combat the week of sitting and watching screens for both work and play. What works best to condition the muscles and relieve chronic pain and stiffness is a combination of routine exercises to increase the heart rate (walking, running, swimming, dancing, weight lifting, etc.) with specific stretching and light exercises performed during short intervals throughout the day. , everyday. This can be accomplished by dedicating just five to ten minutes every few hours to small, quiet movements targeting specific muscle groups.
For example, to perform computer work, our arms remain in a shoulder-forward position, elbows bent, and wrists locked. This forces our biceps and pectoral muscles to contract continuously as the rhomboid muscles in the back are overstretched. To correct the daily damage this causes, it is necessary to perform the opposite movements, which means stretching the muscles of the arms and chest, and shortening / relaxing the muscles of the back. There are very simple stretches that can accomplish this, and they can be done anywhere, anytime, even in the office while sitting at our desks!
This is one of these sections. Begin by taking a comfortable posture, with your arms hanging long and loose at your sides. Focus on pulling your shoulders back and relaxing your neck. Keeping your head upright and looking forward, drop your shoulders, bend your right arm at the elbow, and rest your right arm against your back. Enjoy stretching for 10 seconds; then lower your right arm to hang it freely at your side. Perform the same movement with your left arm, holding it behind your back for 10 seconds. Then, with your left arm still behind your back, bring your right arm back so that it rests against the left arm that is still pressed against your back. To stabilize the position, you can grab your right wrist with your left hand and hold it. Gently push your chest forward and your shoulders back. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Enjoy the proud posture (and even the discomfort, if any) knowing that your muscles are freeing themselves from daily constrictions. Relax your arms at your sides for a moment. Drop your head to stretch your neck; then lift your head to look forward again. Repeat the full stretch sequence three more times for a full set.
This is just one of the very simple stretches that should be done every few hours during the day. It requires little time to operate and does not disrupt the work environment. But it’s worth the effort, allowing overloaded muscles that have been contracted in limited positions to release tension and increase blood circulation. There are many other simple stretches and exercises, like this one, that can help correct problems caused by repetitive and restricted work at the desk and computer use. Fortunately, a little effort goes a long way.