There are just not enough hours in a day. We tell ourselves that. Many of us struggle with hectic schedules, too much time demands, and desk-bound work. This doesn’t alleviate the many aches and pains that many people experience every day – sore muscles, tight necks, aching shoulders, sore backs, sore shoulders – People who are “bound” to their computer screens and “chained to it” can suffer from chronic pain and stiffness. Muscle tissue can become weaker and damaged if they are sedentary for too long, such as when they sit in a fixed position and craned toward the computer screens. Overuse of some muscle groups can also cause tissue damage and pain.
Exercise is a great way to build muscles and reduce stress. Who has the time? Even if you spend several hours per week on healthy exercise, which is highly recommended and beneficial, it might not be enough for a week of sitting still and staring at screens to do both work and pleasure. A combination of regular, high-intensity exercise (walking/running, swimming, weight training, and other cardiovascular activities) is the best way to condition muscles and relieve chronic pain and stiffness. With targeted stretching and light exercise that is done for short periods throughout the day. You can achieve this by dedicating just five to ten minute per day to quiet movements that target specific muscle groups.
To perform computer work, for example, we must keep our arms in a forward, elbow-bent, and wrist-locked position. Our pectoral and bicep muscles are forced to contract constantly, and our back rhomboid muscle over stretch. It is important to do the opposite. This means that you need to stretch your arms and chest muscles, and relax the muscles in your back. These stretches are simple and can be done anywhere.
This is one such stretch. Begin by laying down in a comfortable position with your arms at your sides. Relax your neck and pull your shoulders backward. Keep your head straight forward and your head elevated. Next, lower your shoulders and bend your right arm at the elbow. Then, bring your right arm against your back. For 10 seconds, stretch your right arm and let it hang loosely by your side. For 10 seconds, hold your left arm behind your back and repeat the movement with your right arm. Next, keep your left arm behind you and bring your right hand back so that it rests against your left side. You can hold your right wrist by grasping your left hand with your right hand. Your shoulders should be back and your chest forward. For 5-10 seconds, hold this position. Enjoy the pride (and the discomfort, if you have it) and know that your muscles are freeing themselves from daily constrictions. For a moment, relax your arms at your sides. To stretch your back, lower your head and then raise your head so that you face forward. For a complete set, repeat the entire stretch sequence three times more.
This is only one of many simple stretches you should do every few hours. It takes very little time and is not disruptive to work. It is worth it. This allows overtaxed muscles to relax and allow blood flow to increase. You can also do simple exercises and stretches to help with the repetitive computer work. It takes very little effort to make a difference, and that is a good thing.