Stretching is one part of a successful ergonomics program that can help to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s) and pain and discomfort in general. Stretching allows your body time to recover, relax, and prepare for the next session. It does the same for the mind, allowing you a chance to relax, so you can return with more energy and focus. Frequent stretching will also help prevent muscles from getting stiff and reduce discomfort.
When it comes to stretching to prevent MSD’s shorter, more frequent breaks are preferred over longer breaks. It is generally recommended that you pause and stretch at least once per hour. If your job consists of continuous data entry, it is recommended that you take a 5 minute stretch break every 30 minutes. If you feel any body part getting stiff between your stretch breaks, take a moment, and stretch it out. If it is impractical to take a break for this long, remember that taking a short break, even 30 seconds, is better than none at all.
It is important to stand up and move around when you stretch. This allows your body to have a change in posture and will also help to minimize stiffness and fatigue. It is also suggested that if you are doing an activity where you do not have to be sitting, such as talking on the phone, that you perform it while standing up.
When working on a computer you should occasionally look away from the screen, and focus your eyes on a distant object. This will allow your eyes a chance to relax and help prevent eye strain.
There following stretches for the neck and shoulders, hand and forearm, back, and legs below will help to reduce discomfort during the work day.