Health Exercises to stretch the body while you work

Exercises to stretch the body while you work

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Long hours of work in front of the computer, especially during the pandemic, are responsible for changes in body posture, which in the long run can lead to serious discomfort and injury.

Luckily, taking preventive measures into account and incorporating short breaks to perform simple exercises you can prevent this condition. Let’s see how to do it:

How to achieve a correct posture in front of the computer

The following tips refer to posture at the body level:

  • Head: it must be in a neutral position, that is, without performing antepulsion or retropulsion (sliding the head forward or backward respectively).
  • Neck (cervical spine): it must be in a neutral position with its slight natural curvature.
  • Dorsal column: it must be in a neutral position with its slight natural curvature.
  • Shoulders: the best thing is that they are relaxed.
  • Elbows: they must be in contact with the armrests forming a right angle of 90 ° together with the shoulders.
  • Wrist: they must be in slight extension, respecting the position in natural rest.
  • Lumbar spine: it must be in a neutral position with its slight natural curvature. A cushion can also be placed behind it so that the spinal discs rest.
  • Ischia: They are part of the pelvic skeleton and must be supported on the chair allowing the lumbar spine to stabilize and remain straight.
  • Abdomen: it is best to perform a slight contraction, bringing the navel inward to achieve a counterforce with the lumbar vertebrae. This ensures that they do not overexert themselves to keep the body straight and load all the weight on the intervertebral discs.
  • Hips: they must be in a flexed position, forming a 90 ° angle together with the trunk.
  • Soles of the feet: the ideal is that it is in contact with the ground.
  • Knees– They should be hip width apart, in a flexed position, forming a 90 ° angle with the thighs and legs.
  • Ankles: must be separated in neutral position. An object can be placed under the feet to give it height so that the ankles are at 90 ° flexion with the feet and legs. They can also be placed in a slight dorsiflexion aided by the object under the feet.
  • Feet: they must be separated, placing the soles of the feet on the ground or on some object, allowing the corresponding angles to form to align the body.
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Correct posture in front of the computer (ergonomic level)

Ergonomics is the science that is responsible for designing work places, tools, and tasks to match the anatomical, physiological, and psychological characteristics and capabilities of the people involved.

The following tips refer to posture but at an ergonomic level.

  • The chair should preferably be low to align with the hips and knees so that both form 90 ° angles. Objects can be placed under the feet to give height if necessary.
  • It can be difficult to maintain the previous posture if the work demands many hours of sitting. To help you maintain your posture, you can use a posture corrector at the dorsal-lumbar level.
  • Placing a soft or soft object under the wrist helps to generate the aforementioned physiological resting position.
  • If the chair is very hard, a cushion can be placed under the buttocks.
  • If possible, the keyboard should be left on the table and the monitor should be raised by placing something underneath to give it height. Thus, the gaze is kept straight ahead and no flexion or extension of the head is performed to observe the screen.

Exercises to stretch at work

Remember, it is important to take regular breaks when working at the computer so as not to overexert the body in the same position. These breaks will also help you do the following exercises:

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Neck and head

Lateralization or inclination

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position).

Then tilt your head to one side and place your hand on that side over the ear that points to the ceiling to help you carry it to your shoulder.

Hold that position for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.

Tilt and slight rotation

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position).

Lean in and make a slight head rotation, the eyes should look towards the shoulder you are rotating towards (you can help yourself with your hand on the head).

Then, slowly so as not to get dizzy, return to the center and repeat the movement, but to the other side. Aim for three reps of 20-30 seconds.

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Rotation

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position).

Rotate your head to the side, the gaze accompanies the movement (you should not look up or down).

You can help yourself with the opposite hand on the side you rotate, placing your palm on the chin. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side. Do three reps on each side.

Flexion

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position).

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Bring the head and chin towards the chest producing a flexion of the head and neck. You can help me with my hands by placing them with your palms open behind my head.

This exercise should last between 20 and 30 seconds and you can repeat it up to three times.

Waist and shoulders

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position) and your hands resting on your thighs.

Use circular movements with your shoulders, pulling them forward, up, back, and down. You can repeat the movement starting from back to front (30 seconds forward / backward and 30 seconds backward / forward).

Dorsal and lumbar spine

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position).

Cross your arm in front of your chest and rotate to one side and then the other. Remember, the hip doesn’t move, it just rotates the spine.

Another way to do this is to sit with the back of the chair to one side. Take the backrest with your hand, turn the trunk to that side and finally rotate the head. When returning, the head does it first, then the trunk and hands.

Mobilization

For this exercise you must be sitting with your feet well supported (as explained in the ergonomic position).

Place your hands on your knees, poke and hide your chest in a similar way to the famous good and angry cat position. Remember, only the spine should move.

Sources consulted: American Chiropractic Association, US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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