For most office workers, being glued to their desks while typing away at their computers for an average of 8 hours a day is already a part of their normal routine. However, sitting at the computer all day may not exactly be good for the body, as it can bring about backaches due to poor posture and eye strain, among other effects. On the other hand, being in a desk job does not have to be an ordeal for your health. If you’re one of those people who have to be at a desk all day long, there are some simple steps that you can follow in order to improve your posture and keep your health in check.
- Observe the proper sitting posture in a good chair that is designed for desk work. Your back should be straight, your shoulders back, and the top of your monitor should be level with your eyes. If you have to look down or up, then you need to adjust the height of your screen. Also, make sure that your wrists do not lie on the keyboard or on the mouse pad (unless you have a pad with a wrist rest). This will help prevent the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome (compression of the wrist that can result in pain, loss of feeling and weakness). Keep your legs bent at the knees so that the knees are only slightly higher than your hips. Feet should be flat on the floor or on a step stool of some sort.
- Do simple stretching exercises. Stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.
- Stand up every half hour to walk around a bit. This will ensure continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and will keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. If you can afford to take longer breaks, take a short walk outside your building, and use the stairs instead of the elevator to go down. Aside from giving your legs and heart a good workout, you can take in some fresh air as well.
- Give your eyes a break from focusing on your screen. Every 30 minutes or so, shift your focus from the computer screen and scan around other subjects in the room, such as a window, clock, desk, or door. This helps promote eye movement and lessens chances of eye irritation and headaches. Another technique to relax your eyes would be to rub your hands together, then place your cupped hands over your eyes.
- Take advantage of the downtime created by rebooting or large file downloads. Get up and take short walks around your floor. If you can find the space to do it and do not have many co-workers around who would be bothered, try something more ambitious such as doing a few push-ups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks.
- Do exercises with the help of a few tools. The following tools may be helpful:
- Take a few deep breaths. To work your abdominal muscles, hold your stomach for a few seconds when breathing in, then release when breathing out. If possible, get some fresh air in your lungs by taking a walk outside, as mentioned in a previous step.
- Have a bottle of water by your side and make a habit of drinking plenty of water through out the day. If you do this consistently, you will begin to feel more alert. Take trips to the water refilling station to refill your jug or glass, so that you can also walk around and exercise your legs at the same time.