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Taking a break every hour to do a few stretches can reduce the
muscular tension that builds up during prolonged bouts at the
computer. These stretches were selected with the needs of computer
users in mind; feel free to add any favorites of your own to the
- Extend and separate the fingers until you feel the stretch;
hold for 5 seconds. Relax, then gently bend your fingers for
5 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.
- To relax the shoulcers and upper back, lace your fingers behind
your head and pull your shoulder blades toward each other until
you feel tension through the upper back. Hold for 5-10 seconds,
then relax. Repeat 5-10 times.
- An excellent stretch to do when you find yourself slumping
forward. Lace your fingers behind your back with your palms
facing in. Slowly raise and straighten your arms. Hold for 5-10
seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.
- In a standing position, slowly raise and lower your arms while
turning your head from side to side until you feel a gentle
stretch. Repeat 5-10 times.
- This stretch counteracts the effects of leaning forward to
stare at the screen. Slowly tuck in your chin, hold for 2
seconds, and then release. Repeat 10 times.
- To stretch your calves, lean on a support, and slowly move
your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the straight
leg. Keep the heel of the straight leg on the floor
and toes pointed forward. Hold for 30 seconds without
bouncing, then switch legs.
- Joe Mattazzoni
Prepared with the assistance of the Spine Center of East Bay, in Oakland.
Some exercises adapted from "Computer and Desk Stretches," by Bob and
Jean Anderson. Mild discomfort is natural when stretching; if any of
these stretches cause pain, discontinue.
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My photocopy has illustrations, but I think the text is pretty clear without
them except for the last exercise. There, it might help to know that the
illustration shows a guy (that's OK; more of the illustrations show women)
facing the wall, leaning against it with his palms at face height, with
one leg bent and closer to the wall, and with the other foot flat on
the floor, farther back, leg straight.
||- Mark L. Levinson, mark -at- sd -dot- co -dot- il -- Box 5780, 46157 Herzlia, Israel -||
|| You can't judge right by looking at the wrong. - Willie Dixon ||