Sit, think, type, eat, type, write, browse, click - this is you for at least 8 hours a day in the office. When doing repetitive actions at work, the tendency is to stay in the same position from the time you clock in up until your shift ends (minus the breaks). Maybe halfway through your day you might feel discomfort in your hands, shoulders, neck, lower back, hips, and legs. If you've experienced this, your nerves (where you're feeling numbness or tingling) are probably compressed. Test your nerves and be more productive with these simple muscle and nerve endurance games you can play with work buddies! Don't worry, you won't get called out.
Challenge # 1: Spider Push-up
Duration: 2 minutes
Put your hands together (as if to pray). Spread your fingers as far apart as you can. Push them together as how a spider would look like if it were doing push-ups on a mirror. This exercise prevents the median nerve - the nerve whose irritation triggers carpal tunnel syndrome - from getting cramped.
Challenge # 2: Handshake
Duration: 1 minute every hour
As the name implies, shake your hands as if you're air-drying them. This allows both your muscles and nerves to breathe and stops them from tightening due to repeated actions or movements. Doing this every hour will also give your hands a much deserved break. Plus, it helps get rid of any tingling sensation that might occur.
Challenge # 3: Wrist Stretch
Duration: 20 seconds every hour for every hand
Wrists getting a bit sore from all that writing? This short exercise can improve your wrist's flexibility. Stretch one arm in front of you, elbow straight, and fingers facing the floor. Using your other hand, press your stretched hand downward to apply gentle pressure on your wrist. Do this as far as you're able. Switch hands then repeat.
SHOULDERS & ARMS
Challenge # 4:Prayer Warrior
Duration: 20 seconds
Sit upright on a steady seat (if you're on a wheeled computer chair, just make sure the height adjuster is fixed) with your feet flat on the floor. Hold your palms together as if you're praying, with your shoulders and arms straight. Push both hands against each other until you feel your muscles contract. Apart from this looking like India's famous "Namaste" greeting, this trick relaxes your arms and shoulders especially when they're tense from poor posture.
Challenge # 5: Self Tug o' War
Duration: 10 seconds done in sequences
Long hours of sitting in a slouched position may cause your arms and shoulders to feel tired. This stretch will loosen those tightened muscles and compressed nerves. Sitting up, clasp your hands together as if you're giving yourself a handshake. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Pull your hands away from each other and resist the motion of your arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat!
Challenge # 6:Leg Raise
Duration: 10 seconds
What happens when you sit on your legs for an extended period of time? You experience what is called “pins and needles”. Get rid of this uncomfortable sensation by sitting up and raising one leg straight. Your other leg shouldn't be touching the ground while doing this. Hold this position for 10 seconds then switch. When done with each leg, raise both and hold for another 10 seconds.
These daily office activities can help maintain your flexibility and muscle endurance, especially when you're too busy or tired to exercise after office hours! Beat your own record everyday to start your anti-numbness regimen. Aside from staying active even during work hours, incorporate Vitamin B-rich food to your diet to have healthy nerves. Taking supplements will also ensure that you get the recommended daily dose of these vitamins.
If you have existing medical conditions that might hinder you to performing these challenges, ask your physician or therapist about alternative measures you can take on.