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Simple Exercises for the Web Worker

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Although a recent news item about web working conditions were exaggerated, there’s an amount of truth to it. Web working carries some health disadvantages because of stress or the working environment. One of the things you can do to curb these effects is to exercise.

Exercising has many benefits including better sleep, higher endurance, and the endorphin release during exercise also boosts your mood. For these reasons alone, I believe it can improve work performance and help us attain healthier lifestyles. But before we breakout the exercise tapes, here are some general tips:

  • Schedule your exercise just like you would any work-related activity.
  • Don’t overexert yourself. Start with simple exercises for 10 minutes a day before you move on to more complicated routines for longer periods daily. Also, do some warm up exercises before you begin the more rigorous back exercises.
  • If it helps, you can use Web 2.0 tools to measure your progress.

Now, on to the exercises.

Eyes. The nature of our jobs requires us to stare into monitors for long periods. Because of this, it’s important that we remember to relax our eyes regularly.

  • Palming. Sit comfortably. Rub your palms against each other until they’re warm. Close your eyes and cover your closed eyelids gently with your warmed palms. Don’t apply too much pressure on your eye area, and make sure you can open your eyes in the hollow part of your palms without seeing any light coming in from outside. Let your eyes remain open and stare into the darkness for 3 minutes or more. Do this as often as needed.
  • Applying warm and cold towels. This is one of my personal favorites, as they make my eyes feel completely refreshed after an hour of work. Grab 2-3 face towels, and two bowls of water, one cold and one warm. Grab the first face towel and dip it in cold water, and lightly press it over your closed eyes. Let the cold towel stay for a few seconds and repeat the process with a warm towel. Do this repeatedly a few times and end the session with a cold towel. This exercise promotes blood circulation in the eye area.

Back. Back pain is another common ailment among web workers. The following exercises can help strengthen your back. Apart from these exercises, there are other ways to keep your back pain-free and healthy.

  • Wall squats. Rest your back as flat as you can against a wall while standing. Place your feet approximately 12 inches from the wall, and space your feet apart from each other, roughly shoulder-length. Slide down the wall without moving your lower legs, until your knees are bent to a 90 degree angle. Stay in this position for 5 seconds, then slide back up the wall again. Repeat the process 5-8 times, depending on your endurance and needs.
  • Heel slides. Lie flat on your back on a firm cushion or exercise mat, legs stretched. Gradually bend your right leg towards your hip, then slowly revert it to its previous outstretched position. Do the same with your left leg. Repeat this 8 to 10 times.

Hands. Without the help of a sophisticated speech-recognition tool, web workers spend hours typing daily. If your hand joints are aching, you will benefit from basic hand and wrist stretching. You can also use a hand grip, which usually comes in the form of a ball, a thick foam or rubber, or a V-shaped tool. There are even digital hand grips that measure the tightness of your grip and your heart rate.

For additional exercises, you can also do some stretches while you’re at your workstation. Hopefully, with a few exercises matched with a better diet, we can all be stronger, healthier web workers. We’re very adept at dealing with the virtual world, but from time to time, we need to look at our own bodies and deal with more physical matters.

Do you have a regular exercise routine? Are there some tips you’d like to share with other Web Worker Daily readers?

3 Responses to “Simple Exercises for the Web Worker”

  1. bumpy

    I’m finding, over the past few days, that it’s very motivational for me to start out my day with a brisk bike ride, and/or a relaxing walk, afterward. (Of course, I also do stretching exercises beforehand.)

    Not only is this a healthy routine, but it puts me in a great frame of mind for getting things done; plus it keeps me from feeling like a “home body” or “desk potato.”

    When you work in a home office all day, it’s amazing what a little out-of-the-house activity will do for your spirits.