Sitting in front of a computer for hours on end with minimal movement is not what nature had in mind when she designed our bodies. Limited movement day in day out effects our posture, energy levels, body, eyes and muscle tone.
A sluggishness sets in. Bodily needs get ignored such as thirst and hunger not to mention the aches, twitches and pains that start appearing from prolonged sitting and restricted movement. Your eyes, back and legs are probably craving for some variation and blood flow stimulation.
I certainly spend hours and hours writing and working in front of my computer but due the complaints of my body I have needed to develop a few healthy habits and mini workouts to give my body the attention it deserves.
Sure I do yoga and walk on the beach most days, but long stretches on the computer definitely require some mindful additions during computer time. The following are some ideas I hope will inspire you to add a few mindful healthy living habits to your hours spent in front of your computer.
Stick Out Your Tongue
Practice being Gene Simmons from Kiss. Extend your tongue down as far as it can go you and say “AHHH!” just like you would for the doctor. This helps in the release of tension being held in your jaw and neck area. It also encourages relaxation of your cheek and face muscles. In case you didn’t know, the jaw can be a hot spot for holding onto loads of tension. Even just having your mouth open slightly instead of fully closed while you work can make all the difference to relaxing your jaw and neck. Try it now and notice the difference between having your mouth totally closed or just slightly open.
This is my favourite. Body twists squeeze your organs releasing toxicity whilst massaging the muscles up and down the spine. Simply sit in your chair take a breathe in and twist your body to the right. Place your right hand on the back of your chair to encourage a deeper twist. Breathe out as you move into the twist. Repeat for the other side of your body. I generally do at least five either side
Wall Push Ups
This was recommended by the lovely Jennifer Jefferies at a workshop she gave here in Queensland which I was lucky to be a part of. Give your upper body muscles some exercise by taking a five minute break from the key board. Stand about arms length away from the wall with your hands against the wall at shoulder width. Treat your body to ten or twenty wall push ups.
De-Stress and Nurture Your Hands, Fingers and Wrist
Keep some hand cream or massage oil close by and give your hardworking fingers, hands, joints and wrists a little treat a couple of times a day. The perfect time to do this is when you stop to read an article. Gently massage along each finger individually including the tips, press firmly into your palm with your thumb and massage in a circular motion, then massage over your entire hand and around your wrists. Be mindful of any sore or stiff spots spending a bit more time over those areas. The fleshy part between your thumb and index finger when pressed firmly can help alleviate headaches. In fact if you do have a headache you will notice how sore that spot will feel.
Dance Your Fingers to Relieve Shoulder Tension
Dance your fingers happily up and down along the top of your shoulders. It’s a bit like playing the piano as your fingers pitter patter along any tension held in your shoulder muscles and up along the sides of your neck. This will increase blood flow and bring awareness into your shoulder area allowing you to relax the muscles, drop and spread your shoulder blades.
Fall in Love With a Golf Ball
This little trick is like a mini reflexology session. Take your shoes off and place a golf, ping pong or smallish ball under the arch of your foot. Now roll the ball around as it massages the bottom of your foot. There are pressure points in your feet which relate to specific organs in your body so in effect your whole body is getting a treatment. For a deeper massage you can stand whilst moving the ball around the soul of your foot.
Alternately fill a small box with marbles. Roll your bare feet over the marbles while you work and enjoy the bliss that follows. A couple of drops of the essential oil peppermint is blissful for your feet.
Strengthen Your Biceps
Another great suggestion from Jennifer Jefferies.
You can do this whilst sitting at your desk or standing and looking out the window for a 5 minute body break. Grab a can of tinned food and hold in one hand. Keep the elbow and top of your arm close to the side of your body whilst pulling the can up towards your shoulder and then dropping back down towards the ground again. Repeat as often as you like.
Breathing correctly is hugely beneficial to your body, lungs, blood stream and brain. Empty old stale air from the bottom of your lungs and release all the carbon dioxide. Five gentle yet slow deep breaths periodically throughout the day will help detox your body, improve your thinking and eliminate stale air from your lungs.
Make sure your eyes don’t suffer from eye strain by being fixed on a computer screen for hours on end. This eye exercise is from Deepak Chopra about 15 years ago. Look straight up into the ceiling with your eyes then move them to the right looking as far as your eyes can reach then move your eyes gently to look down as far as they will go, then across to the left.
First start in clockwise direction then repeat in an anti clockwise direction. I personally feel this is an interesting exercise to do as you soon realize how little movement your eyes are often given when sitting in front of your computer.
Yep, your body is predominately water. Your muscles are 75% water, your blood is around 83% and your bones are around 22% water and because men have more muscle than women they generally need to drink more water. Drinking regularly not only hydrates your organs, it detoxifies your body and improves your concentration. Dehydration clouds your thinking. At least two litres of water per day is the recommended dose.
Eat Energy Snack Foods
Whilst eating at the computer is not the ideal scenario sometimes when your on a creative roll a high energy snack can be just the thing you need. A small handful of raw almonds offer protein and a good dose of stress relieving magnesium. I often have raw natural almonds and dried figs to snack on when driving and at the computer.
Oxygenate the Room
Static electricity and radiation from electricity can easily build up in a room which lacks good airflow. Make sure you invite fresh air into the room often to remove the build of electrical bi products and improve the oxygen flow in the room. If you live in a cold climate and opening windows is not an option, oxygenate your body by going outside into the fresh air for a few minutes. Your body will thank you for it.
Carole Fogarty is a freelance writer, passionate blogger and facilitator of Womens Rejuvenation Retreats in Bali. Her blog The Health Living Lounge is all about living simply, inspirationally and holistically. If you enjoyed this article then please subscribe to her feed here and then enjoy two her most popular articles for 2007: Adjust your Yin Yang Time Clock and Add a Delightful Flow to your Day and The One and Only Zen Gift to Give Your Children.