You are here

There are now approximately one billion computer users in the world. With so many people sitting at their desks, obvious problems are sure to arise. (Sitting at a desk all day can literally be a pain in the neck!)
When you sit for long periods, the spine tends to compress. You can count on gravity to accentuate the problem, therefore causing back pain. Inactivity from sedentary positions causes joints and muscles to tighten all over, making movement more difficult and sometimes painful. And when you sit still, blood settles in the lower legs and feet and doesn't flow throughout the body, causing numbness and poor circulation.
Instead of worrying, start stretching! Following these instructions can prevent stiffness or repetitive strain injuries from long hours at your desk.
Opening the wrists will combat carpal tunnel syndrome and release neck and shoulder pain. Place your palms together in the middle of your chest and feel a mild stretch. Slowly, start to point the fingers in the opposite direction, towards the belly button, to reverse the stretch. Hold both positions for five to ten breaths.
Relieve tension not only in the neck but also the upper back and shoulders. Begin with the head in centre. Drop your chin to chest and slowly roll your right ear to the right shoulder. If you're comfortable here, lightly place the right hand behind the head. The key word is lightly; don't force the stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths on both sides.
Begin by interlacing the fingers, extending the arms away from you. Raise your arms overhead and make sure your palms face up. Breathe deeply for ten breaths. Release the arms back down. Lift one arm straight up, bend at the elbow, and press the palm behind your neck. Hold onto the elbow with the other hand. Repeat on the opposite side. Remember to breathe!
There's no better way to tighten your hips than by sitting in a chair, (meaning everyone can benefit from this exercise). Loosen them up by bending your knee and placing the lower leg on the desk or chair. Breathe through the nose and keep the spine long. Hold for ten before switching to the other leg. Note: don't do this pose if you have knee pain.
Alleviate back pain and open up your chest with spinal twists. Begin by sitting tall on your chair, lengthening the spine. Twist over to one side and rest the forearm on top of the chair. Look in the opposite direction of your knees and enjoy the stretch. Repeat on the other side. 
Taking regular breaks to stretch your body can counteract the habitual patterns of bad posture, allowing you to clear your mind from stress and tension, and be productive and a more valuable student or employee.
Photo: DragonImages/Thinkstock