On the other hand, being in a desk job does not have to be an ordeal for your health. If you are one of those people who have to be at a desk all day long, there are some simple steps that you can follow in order to improve your posture and keep your health in check.
1. Observe the proper sitting posture in a good chair that is designed for desk work. Your back should be straight, your shoulders back, and the top of your monitor should be level with your eyes. If you have to look down or up, then you need to adjust the height of your screen. Also, make sure that your wrists do not lie on the keyboard or on the mouse pad (unless you have a pad with a wrist rest). This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Keep your legs bent at the knees so that the knees are only slightly higher than your hips. Feet should be flat on the floor or on a step stool of some sort.
2. Do simple stretching exercises. Stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.
Neck: To stretch your neck, flex your head forward/backward, side to side and look right and left. This can be done almost anytime to lessen tension and strain. Never roll your head around your neck. This could cause damage to the joints of the neck.
Shoulders: Roll your shoulders forward around 10 times, then backward. This helps release the tension off your shoulders.
Arms and Shoulders: A good stretch for your arms and shoulders is to brace your hands on the edge your desk, each about a shoulder width away from your body. Twist your hands in so they point toward your body and lean forward, hunching your shoulders. Take this a step further and push your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk.
Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly, around every hour or so. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing.
Ankles: Roll your ankles regularly. As with your wrists, roll the ankles in a clockwise motion 10 times, then counterclockwise. This helps improve blood circulation, and prevents that tingling feeling you can get when blood circulation is cut off, also known as "Pins and Needles".
Chest: Notice if you tend to hunch in front of the keyboard. To counter that, perform the following exercise: open your arms wide as if you are going to hug someone, rotate your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back. This stretch is moving your body the opposite way to being hunched and you should feel a good stretch across your upper chest.
Abdomen: Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this for every few minutes all day long while you are working at your desk. You can also perform Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) while sitting.
Calves: Stretch your calves. While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down. Repeat until your legs are comfortably tired. Repeat after about 10 minutes later, and continue doing this routine for about an hour or so. This will exercise your calves, and will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Blood clots are very common among middle-aged computer users.
3. Stand up every half hour to walk around a bit. This will ensure continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and will keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. If you can afford to take longer breaks, take a short walk outside your building, and use the stairs instead of the elevator to go down. Aside from giving your legs and heart a good workout, you would be able to take in fresh air as well.
4. Give your eyes a break from focusing on your screen. Every 30 minutes or so, shift your focus from the computer screen and scan around other subjects in the room, such as a window, clock, desk, or door. This helps promote eye movement and lessens chances of eye irritation and headaches. Another technique to relax your eyes would be to rub your hands together, then place your cupped hands over your eyes.
5. Take advantage of the downtime created by rebooting or large file downloads. Get up and take short walks around your floor. If you can afford to do it and do not have many co-workers around who would be bothered, try something more ambitious such as doing a few push-ups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks.
6. Do exercises with the help of a few tools:
Acquire a hand gripper. They are cheap, small and light. When you have to read something either on the screen or on paper, you probably won't be needing to use your hands very often, so use this opportunity squeeze your gripper. It is an excellent forearm workout.
Acquire an elastic band (also cheap, small and light) and use it to do the actions mentioned above (i.e., when stretching your arms, do it by pulling apart the elastic band). This will stretch and work the muscles slightly.
Invest in a large size stability ball or stability ball-style desk chair, and sit on it with back straight and abs firm. You burn calories stabilizing your core and body on the ball. While an actual stability ball is more effective, the chair is a more viable option to use in an office environment. While sitting or talking on the phone, you can bounce or do basic toning exercises. Use the actual ball form in moderation when typing, as this is probably not the most supportive seating to prevent carpal tunnel and tendinitis.
7. Take a few deep breaths. To work your abdominal muscles, hold your stomach for a few seconds when breathing in, then release when breathing out. If possible, get some fresh air in your lungs by taking a walk outside, as mentioned in a previous step.
8. Have a bottle of water by your side and make a habit of drinking some every half hour. If you do this consistently you will begin to feel more alert. Take trips to your water refilling station to refill your jug or glass, so that you can also walk around and exercise your legs at the same time.
9. Find opportunities to move by conducting a walking meeting, taking the stairs when available, walking to another office instead of calling or emailing, walking around your building during lunch.