For writers (or anyone spending several hours a day on the keyboard), there is a risk of incurring repetitive strain injury (RSI). The wrist, elbows and shoulders are areas commonly affected.
So how can you avoid the pain, inconvenience, and loss of productivity that’s associated with this condition?
Alex Teixeira, Owner and Head Trainer at Golden Fusion Fitness, has been generous enough to offer our readers some easy exercises to promote good health, balanced with a productive lifestyle.
Previously, he’s provided sound advice about neck and back stretches and working your core at your desk. This week, Alex offers four steps to help you avoid repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tendonitis and frozen shoulder, all while staying productive at your computer!
Read this first: Perform the following exercises either as a warm up before working on the computer, or during a midday break. When you first try them, find a space near your desk that allows a three-foot radius.
Once you are comfortable with the moves, you can bring the exercises to your desk space. I suggest standing, however, as not only do you have the advantage of space to work with, but you should also notice your core becoming engaged as it compensates for those fluctuations in your hand.
1) Flying Fingers: In this exercise, you simply open your hands, fully extending your fingers, and then close them into a loose fist.
First, perform this exercise quite slowly, holding your hands in front of you at shoulder height. Do 10 repetitions. Shake out your hands.
Repeat the exercise three more times, now opening and closing as rapidly as you can for about 30 seconds. Don’t cheat! Make sure your fingers are fully extended and flexed on each repetition.
You can also try these different positions: out in front of you, above your head, or out to your sides, with your palms either up or down.
2) Waving In and Out: This is another opening and closing exercise. This time, the fingers will move independently of each other, one flowing into the next.
To get the motion, think about finger tapping on a desk in which the pinky-tip strikes the surface first, followed by the ring, middle and index fingers. Begin with your hands extended in front with your palms turned up. Wave the fingers in while simultaneously flexing at the wrist and elbow, bringing the hands toward you.
Once you are fully flexed, allow your elbows to wing outwards to allow your hands to continue their circle down, and then away from you as the fingers wave back out to a fully extended position. Repeat 10 times.
3) Shoulder Flies: If you are familiar with the shoulder press, this movement is quite similar, except that you provide your own resistance!
Raise your hands above your head, with your fingers together and your thumbs out, creating an “L” shape. Bring the hands together at head height with your hands locked at the webbing between your thumbs.
Now, press your hands together as you extend them in an upward direction. Release at the top, allowing your hands to drop back to head height.
Repeat and alternate between locking positions (left hand in front, right hand in front). Start with 30 reps, and work up to 100.
4) Front & back-stroke: Ready to hit the pool?
Well, if you don’t have time to really go for a swim, we can pretend by finishing with this relaxing move.
As the name suggests, this is exactly the motion of a front and back stroke. Maintain a straight elbow, and reach to your utmost extreme positions to the front, above, and behind.
Try 20 front strokes and 20 back strokes with each hand. You can do one hand at a time, or alternate as if you were actually swimming!
Have fun and live well!
Alex Teixeira is the owner and head trainer at Golden Fusion Fitness.
Richard S. Todd is President at The Editor’s Desk, providing professional business copywriting services, as well as comprehensive manuscript editing and proofreading.