Michigan State University Rehabilitation: Desk Exercises

Michigan State University Rehabilitation: Desk Exercises


Hi. My name is Mary. I’m the physical therapist
at Michigan State University Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic and we got a request to send
out a video for taking a break while you’re working at your work station. So, today I’m
going to go over some basic exercises that you can get done in 5-10 minutes so that you
can take a break and release all of the tension that you built after working at computer all
day. So in general, we like to recommend that on your calendar, you send a reminder ever
30 minutes to an hour to do a break, whether it’s just standing up or incorporating some
of these stretches we’re going to show you today. So when you’re sitting at your workstation,
you want to make sure that you have a supportive enough chair to support the curvature of your
spine, the top of the monitor should be at or below eye level, so that the resting position
of your eyes is about 30 degrees down from horizontal, your elbows should be nice and
tight at your side, and your mouse shouldn’t be too far away from your elbow. You shouldn’t
have to reach up here to get your mouse. That being said, we still want to stretch your
wrists out, so you just want to pull your wrists back and point them down, pull it back,
and point it down. From there, you can also go up to your shoulders and just perform a
scapular set, which is pinching your shoulder blades together, hold, and relax … hold
and relax. From here, I’m going to teach you some neck stretches that you can do throughout
your day. You’re going to lift up from your sternum, your navel is in towards your spine.
The first one, you’re going to bring your ear to your shoulders, so you can hold on
to your chair on one side, lean away, and bring your right ear to your right shoulder.
Lightly guide your head with your opposite arm. Again hold 10-15 seconds. Same thing
on the other side. To get a muscle that’s more in the back of your neck, you’re going
to tuck your chin in, rotate your head about 45 degrees, and then roll your head down,
making sure that chin stays tucked in and not jutting out. In general, you won’t over
stretch if you do this frequently, but you can overstretch if you apply to much pressure
on your head. From there, we can go to some leg stretches, and the seated position. One
is just while you’re working at your computer, you can do “glute” sets, which are squeezing
your gluteal muscles, and it makes you a little taller too. So you can go up and down, and
then rock your pelvis back and forth, and that helps to loosen and imply circulation
to the area that you’re sitting on. Then we’re going to go to the leg stretches. Your hamstrings
are the muscles in the back of your leg, which can get very tight. Sitting at the edge of
your seat, up nice and tall, you can straighten your leg out and just start to tap your foot
up and down so that you get a stretch back here and all the way at your calf. If you’re
not feeling enough of a stretch just doing this, then you would lean from your hips forward,
and you’ll feel that all the way down, again, holding 10-15 seconds. Of course, repeat on
the other side. A nice hip stretch is crossing your leg over the other, feel it right in
your back pocket, sit up nice and tall. You can either apply pressure here or lean forward,
10-15 seconds, and then hug 10-15 seconds. You can do it dynamically and do a couple
of repeats if you want. That always feels good too. And then the last leg stretch is
in standing. We’re going to go ahead and stand on up, use your desk for balance, place your
foot on the back of your chair, and standing up nice and straight, bend the leg you’re
standing on, so you can get a stretch in the front of your leg. You want to make sure that
you’re stabilizing your pelvis with your gluteals by squeezing and drawing that tummy in. The
last stretch is one of my favorites, because it stretches out your whole shoulders and
your back. You just use your desk, and if you’re on a nice wheeled surface, you can
just roll back, and elongate your arms, reaching them towards your computer, and sliding your
hips back, so you’re stretching through your lattisimus, through the shoulder. There should
be no pain or pinching up at the top of your shoulder. You can even slide and side bend
one way and then side bend the other way, so that you get a little bit broader stretch.
And that’s a quick fit break to break up your day.

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