How often do you stop and stretch?
The human body was made to move! We are definitely not meant to sit still for hours at a time. However, we are all guilty of sitting at screens for far too long without moving. It can be so easy to become engrossed in a task that we don’t realise how much time has actually passed.
Over time, this can lead to neck and back pain, as well as other injuries. Frequent stretch breaks (every 30-45mins) also ensure you stay more mentally alert and productive.
There are hundreds of apps out there to help remind you to move through the day.
Some software to consider:
Or for those that prefer a physical reminder, a vibrating activity tracker might be the way to go. The wristband will alert you if you are not moving enough, and encourage you to move to reset the inactivity timer.
But it can also be as simple as setting a reminder on you PC or phone to get up and move every 30 minutes. Get a glass of water. Walk and chat to a colleague instead of sending an email. Any excuse to move will benefit your body.
Exercises to try during your break:
- Stretching the pectorals improves circulation to the hands and reduces neck and shoulder tension.
Place your hand in the doorframe, keeping the elbow bent and pulling your shoulder blade down towards the floor. Slowly rotate your body away from your hand, to create a gentle stretch along the front of the chest. Progress this exercise by moving your hand further up the door to stretch the forearm. Hold for 20 seconds, release, and repeat on the other side.
- To release tension in the upper back, cross your arms and put one hand on the outside of each knee. Pull back with your shoulder blades as you gently press the knees into your hands. Hold 15seconds, repeat 2-3 times.
- Eye exercises: simply looking out into the distance regularly is important in reducing screen related eye strain.
We all have tendencies to hold tension in different areas, so an individualised repertoire of exercises, determined by your physiotherapist is essential.
For advice on specific exercises you can do regularly at work, speak to your physiotherapist.
By Alla Melman, Physiotherapist