Tweak Your Biz » Management » De-tangle yourself from your chair!

De-tangle yourself from your chair!



This post was inspired by a dream I had last night. I got my eyes checked and was even able to tell from the test results, how good my perception of colour is – is that even possible? But the negative result was that I was ruining my eyesight with looking at computer screens all day. Thankfully my latest real eye test confirmed that this is not true.

We are all business people, working hard!

Some of us may find ourselves sitting in front of the computer for many hours during the day (like you are now). So I thought I would share a few simple exercises with you to help stretch your limbs, eyes, ears and other areas of your body:

Your Posture!Bad Posture

Ensure your chair and desk are the correct height so your eyes are level with or slightly above your screen and your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Feet flat on the floor (My hairdresser always instructs me to uncross my legs –> bad posture = bad haircut)
Your wrists should rest easily on the surface where your mouse is sitting
Keep your shoulders and back relaxed down (not hunched up)

Exercises:

  • With your arms bent, lean back and stretch your arms and shoulders back also. Then open out your arms for a full stretch
  • Twist you body while seated, to the left and to the right
  • Twist your neck left and right, then up and down
  • Lean your head towards your left and right shoulders (NEVER do a full circle, this causes stress on the neck)
  • A walk at lunch time if even just 10 mins will help stretch out the spine (it can shrink up to 4cms a day as our spinal discs compress throughout the day)
  • If at home, lie on your back, on a carpet or mat, and pull your knees to your chest. This will also stretch the spine
  • Take up a stretching pastime such as yoga if you are a regular laptop user (esp the Sun Salutation will get you set for the day)

Your eye balls!

Eye muscles strain to point the eyes at close distances, such as a computer screen (not so much a TV as it is generally distant)

Exercises:

  • Every few minutes focus your gaze at the most distant object available (light switch on opposite wall) for 5-10 seconds
  • If you have a window, glaze off to the distance. Focusing at a distant object actually physically exercises the components of the eye and helps them relax
  • Roll your eye balls in their sockets, changing direction frequently, blinking between each round (don’t try this if you are interacting with someone)
  • Close your eyes tightly for 3-5 seconds, open for same and repeat a few times
  • Look at the wall opposite you and use you eyes to write out your name on the wall (this is fun to do)

Your ears!Loud noises affect our hearing

If you use earphones a lot for listening to music / pod casts or conference calling, your ears can become overwhelmed. It is generally accepted that continuous exposure to loud sounds deteriorates the hearing, but further studies have shown that intermittent loud bangs cause more damage

Exercises

  • Rub your temple with your fingers. This will also benefit the eyes and head
  • Purposely listen to low volume podcast / music to strain the ears a little
  • Leave off the ear-phones when not necessary
  • Avoid loud bangs or unexpected loud noises

Your wrists!sore wrists

The most common area to suffer from repetitive strain injury (RSI) are your poor wrists. The most common culprit believe it or not are the little “jacks” that raise the back of your keyboard as such an angle that your wrists are bent backwards more than they should be!

Your hands should be hovering as you type (some users will be used to this from laptops) and should never rest on the surface that the laptop / PC is on.

Exercises

  • Flatten your keyboard for starters
  • Raise your seat or lower your typing level so your wrists are not inclined to sit on the bench/table
  • While doing your eye ball exercises, rotate your wrists and hinge them up and down
  • Make fists and open out the hands quickly
  • Intertwine your fingers, push your arms out in front – this will help stretch the upper torso also

Joints loose lubrication, so take 2 mins out and start by curling your fingers, after about 10 seconds include movement of the wrists, then include movement of the elbows and finally the shoulders (It’s really cool the shapes and cracking noises you can make)

I know some of you are already aware of some or all of these simple techniques, but I know that you have been trying out a few as you read the post, so my job here is done!

This is by no means a definitive list – you can add as you develop your own “Anti-Stiffness” strategy. I feel better already, how about you?



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The Author:

Elaine Rogers is a Business Training & Development Specialist. She provides training and coaching in the areas of IT Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. Elaine has just launched a new online training store at http://www.thesmarttrain.com that provides videos and workshops in the areas of IT, Business and Soft Skills. http://www.thesmarttrain.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.channelship.ie FRed

    Thanks Elaine. This is useful. Last year I got RSI and it’s not pleasant at all. I guess the trick is to disconnect a bit. Sometimes we feel the pain or see any of this coming but ignore it :(

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Right said Fred!
    Even to do them bit by bit, and not all together, is advantageous. Ironically since I wrote this, I have had terrible back trouble the past few days, and I know exactly that I need to “disconnect”.

    Stress is as big a factor as the physical discomfort endured when mistreating our bodies.
    I hope your RSI is less of a problem for you now. It’s a tough lesson, and no-one will appreciate that unless they get a dose of it personally!

    Thanks for the comment :)

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Elaine, great post! another place where I (back) suffer sometimes is the car, particularly long drives. I always need to give myself plenty of time so I have time to stop & have a stretch. Will be trying some of your suggestions above.

  • http://www.facebook.com/facundo.villaveiran Facundo Villaveiran

    That was Fred’s excuse to take some time off :) Good advice Elaine. I recently read a book called “The F*ck it way” and they have some similar tips. One that caught me is: Every now and then during the day put your hands in the back of your head and rub just above the nape; it gives you an instant feeling of happiness! It works!

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Oh Facundo – I think we’ll need a demo on that – post the link to the video when you have it recorded ;)Thanks for reading, must check out that book – fascinating title!

    Edit: Just found the website – classic!! http://www.thefuckitway.com/

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    When you stop, get out (obviously) and stand straight (before you wave to the passers by) and raise your left knee to right elbow, and release. Then raise your right knee to your left elbow and release. Great for stretching out the lower back.

    I’ve been told recently that people with long backs are prone to lower back trouble. Best of luck with your exercises :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Elaine, very helpful! One I follow with the eyes is the 20-20-20 rule, every 20 minutes I look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds! Recommended by my optician I find it helps !

  • Lisa Park

    Very thorough, Elaine! Great info. VSP has some additional suggestions to avoid eye strain and Computer Vision Syndrome: http://bit.ly/b6Leai

  • Anonymous

    If I follow the above does this mean that I don’t have to go to the gym? :-) Nice article with some exercises I would not have thought about.

    P

  • http://speak.geekspeaktraining.com Dermot

    No-one ever has the time to blog, there’s not enough hours in the day…

    At least that’s how it feels, but for one day (or a week), make a detailed list of how much time you spend on everything – working, having conversations (and make a distinction between fun conversations, productive conversations, unproductive conversations), eating, commuting, watching television, surfing the internet and you’ll probably notice that there are activities that are taking up too much time – eliminate these and you will suddenly have time to blog.

    Also, commuting time is not just about travel, it can be composing time, where you think about what you want to say in your blog entry so that when you’re back at a computer, the hard work of composing is done and all you have to do is spend a few minutes typing in your blog entry

  • Stacy

    Words of wisdom from a man who does it well. Smart man that Niall Devitt.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you, Stacy, we’re all just learning ;)

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks, Jim – I’m glad you approve!u00a0

  • Belinda

    I’m pretty new to social media, my previous experience was Facebook. Period. I now have Twitter, Branch Out & LinkedIn accounts and appreciate any info I can get on how best to use these mediums as well as social etiquette. So, I’ve made a few changes based on your recommendations. Thank you!

  • Des

    Enjoyed your article. I’m just starting to work on a social media strategy for the first time. LinkedIn will be a part of it so i appreciate your tips.

  • http://www.garrendennylane.ie/blog Lorna

    I have to admit I hardly ever use Linked In and really feel I should be utilising it more. u00a0I became fed up with it when each week when I get the weekly digest and I see people’s updates are full of nonsensical tweets. I sometimes engage in discussions but I am really not using it to its full potential. u00a0I’d love a post on Branch Out by the way – what is your opinion on it as I have just signed up to it but haven’t done anything with it as yet.nAnother bug bear of mine is when I see on the weekly roundup email that I get, that A wrote a recommendation for B and B recommended A too – at least space them out by a week or two so it doesn’t look so obvious that you’re doing each other a favour!nyes, i need to crack the nut that is Linked In :)

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    That’s a really great Linkedinu00a0sin list Niall thanks!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you, Helen :)

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Good luck with it, Des and thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Thank you, Belinda, Good luck with it and remember it’s mostly just comommon sense :)

  • Hugh Alford

    Thank you for wrting this Niall.nGreat ten.nTunedIn is more engaging than LinkedInnn”If you don’t use it – you lose it!”nhttp://fruitsofsuccesswithhugh.blogspot.com/nu00a0

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Lorna, thanks for the input, I haven’t really used BranchOut so can’t really comment I’m afraid :(

  • Paul Ferns

    Hi Niall,u00a0thanks for the list, it was very interesting. One thing that annoys me and which I must confess I”m alsou00a0guilty of doing,u00a0is the people connecting to people that they met once and will probable never meet again phenomenon.u00a0These contacts are just seat fillers like the stand-ins onu00a0Oscar night. I would like to see a system whereby you could rate a member in your network so that someone you have a lot of contact with is higher than someone you rarely if ever have contact with. For example I saw recently someone I wanted to make contact withu00a0who was outside of my network. I noticed they were connected to someone I knew well enough to asku00a0if they couldu00a0arrange a meeting for me only for my contact to tell me they really didn’t know that personu00a0at all and that they wouldn’t actually feel confortable contacting them. Kind of defeats the purpose of addingu00a0someoneu00a0to your professional networku00a0don’t you agree? anyway, great article, Thanks. Paulu00a0u00a0

  • http://twitter.com/LaneyOfLimerick Laney DeJesus

    I don’t know Niall if I share this on Twitter it’s going to automatically hit my over 1200 audience on Linkedin. I liked it to my Facebook page instead. :-)nn8 & 9 I see a lot of happening on Linkedin.nnGood read!

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    I had set up my profile some years ago and worked on it progressively over the years. I have not engaged in groups as much as I should, and got annoyed by the constant tweeting on LinkedIn. Even people I highly respect are doing it (my twitter acc is linked also, but I only tweet once a day or so from that acc, and is normally stuff related to my business, not social tweets, as I keep them separate in another twitter account).nLuckily I have never been spammed on LinkedIn, yet!nnOne thing that annoys me is people with no other connection, request to connect to me as a friend, that particular annoys me as I love and respect my friends, and they are encroaching into that space. Anyone of interest to me, I will message them, asking why they wanted to connect and to meet in person. It’s good research if nothing else.nnGreat pointers there for future reference Niall, thanks!