Why is stretching important? No matter how well a workstation is designed, problems may arise if attention is not paid to the way the work is done. Working at a computer often involves very few changes in body position. This lack of movement can lead to muscle pain and strain.
What can be done to minimize this strain? It is recommended that a person break for 5-10 minutes for every hour spent at a workstation. If possible, it is ideal to stand up and walk for this time (e.g., work tasks that involve standing, walking, or at minimum, a change of body position). Some of these stretches can be done at the same time.
Vary the work tasks. Break up keyboarding tasks work by doing other job duties or tasks that involve moving around or changing body position. Try to stand up and move around.
Look away from the screen occasionally and focus your eyes on an object far away.
Take regular rest breaks to ease muscle aches, eye strain and stress.
Relax your muscles, stretch and change position.
Hold the stretch for a reasonable time (e.g., 10-20 seconds).
Do not bounce, pull/push excessively, or lock your joints. You should feel a stretch, but not pain.
If you feel pain or severe discomfort, stop stretching. Ask your medical professional for advice.
CAUTION: If you have an injury or any type of reoccurring discomforts, you should immediately report your injury/symptoms and obtain a medical evaluation.
These stretching exercises are not provided to cure any existing problems but they may help in preventing any future ones. Individuals with previous injury should consult with their physician before performing these exercises on a routine basis. Always obtain medical consent prior to starting any exercise program.
You may feel tension and tightness while performing some of these, but you should not feel pain. If you feel pain, back off the stretch a little until it feels more comfortable. If pain persists, you may want to seek medical care.