Work got you stressed out? Your body shouldn’t be!
It’s no secret that Americans are working long hours, many of them spent in offices and in front of computers. While these long hours may pay off in a business sense, you may find that the strain is taking a toll on your health. You may not be able to avoid spending more than half of your day in the office, but you can certainly make an effort to stay healthy while you’re there. Here are some quick tips that will not only improve your day, but will protect your body and mind from long-term damage that can accumulate from these long hours at work.
The first thing you should do is to make sure that you have the correct setup for your keyboard and monitor. Using a computer involves frequent repetitive movements that can lead to repetitive stress injuries. If you type 60 words a minute, you’ll be making around 21,000 keystrokes an hour so it’s easy to see how the stress can add up. Symptoms can range from mild stiffness to severe pain. To minimize the risk of such injuries, make sure that your hands and wrists are in the neutral position at the keyboard and try to keep your wrists straight and your elbows at right angles. Also, make a point to type lightly. There’s no need to press the keys with much force, and this will reduce the strain on your hands, fingers, and wrists. Finally, make sure that your computer monitor is positioned at eye level; this will reduce any unusual positions while typing. These unusual positions put strain on your spine which can lead to many health problems.
Next, if you are sitting all day at work make sure that you have a decent chair. Ideally, your chair should be ergonomic and adjustable for height, back angle and height, seat angle and have adjustable arms. This will help you to control your posture and will put you at the proper distance from your desk without your having to strain or stretch to reach your computer keyboard. Another option is to use an exercise ball for a chair. While this may sound strange at first, it is actually an excellent way to strengthen your muscles and keep you active while you work. An exercise ball will help you to maintain proper posture and give you freedom of movement. Plus, small movements that your body will continually make while sitting on a ball can improve circulation and help relieve some of the pressure of gravity. The proper size for an exercise ball would be one that allows your thighs to be parallel with the floor.
Also, water consumption is critical to stay healthy. Seventy-five percent of your body is water. It is used in almost every body reaction. Though water is not in the food pyramid because it contains no calories, provides no energy, and provides no key nutrients, it is very important to health and survival. Water is a major component of most of the foods you eat. In addition to foods containing water, the average adult needs about two quarts of water every day. Water intake must be increased even more for active people and those in hot environments. Servings of coffee, tea, and soft drinks should not be substituted for water and/or other beverages or foods such as low-fat milk, fruit juices, or foods rich in calcium, which provide sources of key nutrients.
Finally, stretching is important for people of all ages. One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you’re able to increase the length of your muscles and tendons. This leads to an increase range of movement, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Stretching can help to prevent an injury by promoting recovery and decreasing soreness and ensures that your muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of sport and exercise, and less likely that they’ll become injured. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. There are simple stretches you can do while at work or on the computer. It does not have to be a huge time commitment, but stretching can end up giving you huge results. Although your work days can be demanding and long your body should not pay the price, it’s important to keep yourself healthy. Following these simple tips can help relieve some of the stress your work day entails and keep you fit. .Keep in mind that these small steps can enhance maximum wellbeing and productivity.
by Dr. Jason Nardone