- Don’t push beyond point of discomfort. Back off and with time and practice, increase flexibility and endurance gradually
- Pain is a signal, listen to it.
- If it feels unnatural, it probably is
- If it’s not fun, you won’t maintain it.
- If you’re gasping for breath and can’t talk while you do it, you’re over-doing it and again, need to build your endurance gradually.
- It is strongly recommended that you discuss your exercise with your health care provider. Special precautions for those with neck, back, shoulder hip or knee injury or surgery. Use common sense and listen to your own body.
Listen to your body, if you experience discomfort with any exercise, back off it a bit, don’t stretch as far, or do as many repetitions. If simply backing off works, then do this milder routine for several sessions until you build up flexibility and endurance. Increase the stretch and/or repetitions gradually. If you experience pain, stop and consult your health care provider.
A review of some basics about RSI:
RSI is accumulated damage from lack of adequate rest (breaks) and excessive use/force. If you are feeling tension, pain, numbness, you need to be doing something different. If you are having numbness, you need to be consulting a physician.
PREVENTING RSI, including CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Take regular micro breaks: 30-60 seconds every hour, or more, depending on the type of work you do – stretch those muscles.
“Current research conclusively proves that short, frequent micro-breaks accompanied by some physical activity during the work day significantly reduce the rate and risk of computer injuries and Repetitive Strain injury (RSI). These breaks also contribute substantially to productivity. The 5 minute movement exercises developed by Desk-Trainer not only provide a break with some physical activity, but also provide immediate transformation from old, limiting neuro-muscular patterns into effective pain-free ways of sitting and moving, thus preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.”
Retrieved from http://www.desk-trainer.com/about/micro_breaks.php 1/20/11
Good Body Mechanics Involve:
Hips & shoulders in alignment (don’t twist when lifting, for instance)
Use large leg muscles (not back, squat, don’t bend)
Think balanced exercise (using both sides)
Think support (for elbows so shoulders are in relaxed, neutral position)
Adequate lighting & magnifiers
Foot rest to elevate one leg relieves lower back strain
Good sitting posture (neutral spine)
Good sleeping posture (neutral spine)
If you are felling strain or tension, re-think what you are doing, take frequent micro-breaks
Examples of MicroBreak Exercises
- A microbreak is 30-60 seconds at least every hour. Or on your free time…every commercial break. Frequency depends on the intensity of the work or even lack of movement.
- Feel free to do only what you can, don’t push until you feel pain.
- Start with 5 repetitions or 15 seconds, build 10 repetitions or 30 seconds.
- Check w/your Dr. If Dr says don’t, don’t.
- The following are some simple stretches, basically working from head to toe.
- Always approach them slowly, paying attention to what your body tells you is enough or not to do.
- For micro-breaks, do several slow deep breaths before and after each session.
A simple routine, or individual exercises to break up the work
- With shoulders relaxed, lower one ear to shoulder (support w/hands as pillow if needed)
- Bring head back to center. Repeat on the other side.
- SLOWLY – look left, bring back to center, then look right
- Stretch and reach for the stars
- Arm Circles– pinching shoulder blades together.
- Hold one arm across body and press. Repeat with the other arm
- Support are…allow wrist to rise and fall as far as they comfortably can.
- Finger spread, return to a soft fist
- Wrist rotation (like turning a door knob with your fingers splayed)
- Fingers on Shoulders (or back of head, or fisted knuckles facing), touch elbows
- Rowing (pinching shoulder blades together as you come back)
- Marching in place
- Foot circles
- Seated marching
- Rise onto your toes, raising your heel
- Step to one side, bring other foot to it, reverse, repeat.
- Hip circles (hula hoop, w/o moving shoulders) 10-15’
- Standing foot circles
References & Resources
Google Microbreaks, you may need to be even more specific, ex: exercises to prevent carpal tunnel
Ergociser – free computer download http://download.cnet.com/The-Ergociser/3000-2129_4-10398225.html
This freeware program is basically a timer designed to remind desk-bound users to take scheduled breaks by doing ergonomic exercises. You simply choose from four predefined time intervals (15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes).
Living Joyously Tip for the Day
Breathe and take a break at regular intervals…your body and your co-workers will thank you for it!