Ergonomics: Relieve the Strain with Exercise

The term “ergonomics” is derived from two Greek words: “ergon”, which means “work”, and and “nomoi”, which means “laws”. According to the laws of ergonomics, work activities should allow workers to assume different postures throughout their day.

With with the advancement of technology, more jobs have been created that place the worker seated in front of a computer for hours at a time. This repetitious sitting often causes joint stiffness and tense, tight muscles. Tight muscles, in turn, reduce the normal flow of
oxygen as well as blood circulation to all body parts. And in turn, these reduced flows affect the total body functions.

When you think of physical job injuries, you may relate those to strenuous jobs. Truckdrivers, dock workers, shelf stockers, furniture movers, and construction workers, for example, risk getting physically injured every day they’re on the job.

However, office work and other sedentary jobs can be almost as hazardous for workers employed in these fields. One of the most common injuries, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), in an inflammation of the median nerve. The median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel which is located in a person’s wrist. The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are pain, tingling, and numbness in the wrist. Sometimes, the pain and tingling can be felt in the fingers, as well as in the forearm. CTS is caused by repetitive use of the fingers and hands.

This type of sedentary job injury can disable a worker for several weeks, especially if they need surgery to repair the injury. In extreme cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can force you to find a new job where you don’t have to make the same repetitive movements.

In order to help prevent this, workers need to take “exercise breaks”. This type of break is a few minutes periodically to perform some healthy exercises that will stretch their bodies from head to toe. It is recommended that workers repeat each exercise several times throughout their work days:

Exercise 1- Stretch Tight Neck Muscles

Sit up with a straight posture. Slowly tilt your head back as far as is comfortably possible. Hold and inhale and exhale deeply. Now, tilt your head forward as far as it will comfortably go and hold this position and inhale and exhale deeply.

Exercise 2

While maintaining a straight posture, arch your back and turn your head to the left ; inhale and exhale. Now turn your head to the right and inhale and exhale again. Finally, turn your head to the center and inhale and exhale again.

Exercise 3- Relieve Stiff Shoulders and Neck Muscles

Sit in a comfortable chair. Hang your left arm down over the side of the chair. Gently turn your head to the right side; inhale and exhale deeply. Next, hang your right arm over the side of the chair. Gently turn your head to the left side and inhale and exhale deeply. Remain
seated for the next exercise.

Exercise 4- Stretch Tired Back Muscles

Place your feet flat on the floor. Using your back muscles, pull your abdomen in towards your spine; inhale deeply. Pull your tailbone up as you let your back lower down. Hold and release your abdomen, then exhale.

Exercise 5- Sit in a comfortable chair. Lean slowly forward as far as you can comfortably reach. Slowly drop your head toward your knees and let your hands drop down to your sides. Inhale and exhale deeply.

Exercise 6- Stretch Tense Arm Muscles

Stand in a comfortable position about two feet from a straight wall. Place your hands on the wall while keeping your arms straight. Inhale and bend your arms while you let your chin fall to within a few inches of the wall. Exhale as you straighten your arms out again.

Exercise 7- Stretch Leg and Back Muscles

Stand up and hold your arms down to your sides with your palms facing your sides. Inhale deeply as you lift one leg straight up. Hold your knee straight for several seconds. Then, as you exhale, lower your leg back down to the floor. Repeat this exercise with the other leg.

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