If you spend all day in front of a computer, you can end up sore from stress and strain before you even hit the gym. Sitting at a desk all day can cause numerous postural problems, including rounding in the upper back, tightness in the chest, arms bones that sit too far forward in the shoulder socket, a forward head position, and wrist and elbow pain and/or weakness. In the last few years, people have become more aware of the negative relationship between sitting at a desk and their posture, core and back health.
New clients consistently tell me that they want to improve their posture when they sit at their desk. They want to learn to use their core and upper back muscles properly so they don't slouch. People don't realize sitting at a desk and working on a computer all day does not just affect the upper back and core. Postural problems are all interconnected. Sitting at a desk and working on a computer for long amounts of time can have a negative effect on the wrist, hand and elbow. Usually people don’t pay attention to these body parts until injury occurs. Because of this, I strongly encourage incorporating the exercises below, especially those for your wrists and hands, into your daily routine. Take a break from typing once an hour and spend two minutes going through the four wrist and hand exercises. Moving your wrists and hands in all directions will promote blood flow and increase neurological awareness to that body part. The hand exercise that will benefit you the most will depend on how your computer is set up. When you type, if your wrists sits higher then your fingers, focus more on the extension exercises. If you type with your wrists below your fingers, focus on the flexion exercises instead.
Bend both your arms to 90 degrees at the elbows, with your forearms parallel to the floor. Through all the exercises, try to limit the motion of the forearm, upper arm and elbow. Make the motion only from the wrist.
Begin in the starting position, with your palms facing up. Hinge your wrist to bring your palms and fingers towards you. Try not to bend the fingers. Only break at the wrist. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Begin in the starting position, with your palms facing down. Hinge your wrist to bring the top of your hands and fingers towards you. Try not to bend the fingers. Only break at the wrist. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Begin in the starting position, with your palms facing up. Break at the wrists and move your hands away from the mid-line of the body (sideways towards your thumbs). Try not to bend the fingers. Only break at the wrist. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Begin in the starting position, with your palms facing up. Hinge at the wrists and move your hands towards the mid-line of the body (sideways towards your pinky fingers). Try not to bend the fingers. Only break at the wrist. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Lie on your left side. Place your right arm on your hip at a 90 degree angle. Place a towel between your arm and your hip.
Have your palm facing down. Rotate your upper arm bone in your shoulder socket to lift your knuckles up to the ceiling. Try not to shove your shoulder blade back, move your elbow or use momentum. Think about using the muscles in the back of your shoulder to do the work. Repeat for 10 reps, then repeat on your right side, using your left arm.
Same as above, but turn your palm up towards your upper body.
Same as above, but turn your palm down towards your lower body.
Sit tall in your chair. Engage your abdominals by pulling in your lower abs – imagine that you’re putting on a tight pair of jeans. Have your hands by your side, palms forward. Arc your arms up towards your ears as though you’re making a snow angel. Lower and repeat 10 times. Feel your shoulder blades more.
Sit and straighten your arms in front of you, parallel to the floor, at shoulder height. Keep your arms straight and use the muscles in-between your shoulder blades to retract your arms. Imagine you’re cracking a walnut in-between your shoulder blades. Repeat 10 to 15 times.