Stretch break information about desk stretching exercises, and computer exercises to help prevent computer work related health problems.
Desk exercises are recommended for computer users throughout the day. When muscles remain stationary, circulation decreases, muscles tire, tasks become more uncomfortable for the computer user to perform. Incorrect computing posture habits combined with long-term stationary sitting are considered causative of medical problems known as Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) or Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). Eye disorders, known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) may be avoided by performing a few simple exercises during the day. More recently, studies have reported the dangers of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) among office workers, IT employees and even cab drivers who habitually remain sitting for too long.
Short periods of office exercises can be easily scheduled by individuals throughout the day. Micro-breaks and rest exercise breaks as well as eye breaks can be scheduled at specific interims of the day. Each type of activity is easily performed by individuals at their desk and only take a minute or two. They fit easily in-between tasks and provide long-term benefits for employee health and productivity. Individuals who are already suffering from the effects of CTD, RSI or CVS should consult with their doctor prior to taking up specific preventative-style exercises. However, experts states that an ergonomic computer desk set up and proper working posture are most essential, so that employee do not return to sitting in improper positions for long periods.
Plan desk exercises with micro breaks and rest breaks. Movement is required by our bodies, and our bodies have been constructed for movement. Over 600 major muscles control 200 bones. Stationary computing postures, and inappropriate body positioning leads to strained or weakened muscles and serious injuries. Remaining in sitting positions for long periods of time also impede blood flow. Stretching and exercising the muscles throughout the day help maintain the body's health. However, desk stretching exercises should not be painful; slow and easy is all that's required. The information contained here is by no means complete, however, it is based on widely accepted and provided scientific and medical research advice.
30 to 60 second micro-breaks can be taken every 30 minutes. It merely requires you to train yourself to change body positions. Examples you might include would be to rest and stretch your hands , stand up tall for a brief period, perform easy shoulder stretches and leg stretches. These don't take long and they don't take you away from your desk, but they do also provide your eyes a break from staring at the computer screen.
Take office exercise rest breaks after every one or two hours of stationary computer work. These one to two minute exercise breaks incorporating movement and stretching by, for example, taking a short walk while also performing some additional gentle stretches.
Click here for a stretching document in pdf.
(Illustration courtesy of Stretching in the Office, by Bob Anderson and illustrated by Jean Anderson)
Resting eye breaks help prevent the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The American Optometric Association's list of CVS symptoms include: fatigue, headaches, dry eyes, tearing eyes, neck and shoulder discomfort, pain in and around the eyes, inability to maintain focus, progressive refractive changes, changes in color perception, and others. In addition to readjusting the setting of your monitor and lighting, it's also important to rest your eyes. Unlike other office exercises, computer eye exercises can be managed as a simple desk exercise: Just move your eyes off the screen and refocusing them on a distant objects for several seconds, and also, blink frequently to keep the eye surface lubricated. Our website also offers additional information about eye strain solutions.
An ergonomic perspective. Refocus your eyes off the computer screen to rest on more distant objects for 30 seconds or so every half hour. This practice is easily incorporated into your other micro break and exercise break periods.
- Remember to breathe: Take deep breaths slowly through your nose, holding for a couple seconds before exhaling through the mouth.
- Head turns. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, slowly turn your head first to one side, then center, then to the other side, and keep your head held at each position for three seconds before moving it to the next position. Repeat this regime a few times.
- Shoulder rolls. Roll both shoulders slowly at the same time. Repeat several rotations.
An ergonomic desk set up and proper working posture are most essential. Check out our complete selection of computer furniture and workstations where you will find a large range of ergonomic computer desks with adjustable features for optimal work comfort. Using an ergonomically correct monitor mounts, monitor stands and monitor arms can also assist with adjusting monitors to different positions and reducing stress from maintaining the same position for long periods.