Stretch break

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Stretching Exercises, by rahaeli (transcript of an irc conversation)

These are quick exercises you should be doing every 30 minutes to an hour whenever you are working.

General note: while you're doing the stretches, pay attention to which ones make things *tingle* (increased bloodflow + nerve conduction: good) vs which ones actually *hurt* (bad) if something hurts, scale back a bit on how far you're stretching/moving/etc until it doesn't hurt anymore (If these would be bad for you, don't do them, or adapt them to your particular situation)

Part 1: Exercises for shoulders

Exercise 1.1

1) sit up straight and adjust your posture etc (assume this is step #1 for all subsequent) 2) roll your shoulders all the way back so the tops of your shoulders aren't hunched over (assume this is step #2 for all subsequent) 3) roll your shoulders as far backwards as you can without moving your arms, stretching them backwards (like you're trying to thrust out your chest) and hold for 15 seconds, relax. repeat 5 times.

Exercise 1.2

3) drop your arms to your sides so that they are dangling loosely down (dead zombie spaghetti arms, i mean: consciously relax them as much as possible) 4) from this position, slowly lift your arms out to the side so you're making a T shape with your upper body. leave your wrists limp and dangling, you want to keep them relaxed 5) hold arms in T-shape for 15 seconds, then slowly lower them back (don't let them just drop). repeat 5 times.

Exercise 1.3

5) do steps 1-4 from above, only this time continue lifting your arms until they're all the way up over your head (try not to lift your shoulders while you lift your arms. it takes a bit of practice to lift your arms without lifting or hunching up your shoulders) leave arms over your head for at least 30 seconds, ideally a minute 6) slowly bring your arms back down to T position, pause there for a few seconds, bring them back down to your sides

Exercise 1.4

repeat steps from above until your arms are over your head and reaching for the ceiling again. while they're up there, roll your shoulders in circles. this is hard to explain, but basically, you want to move *only* the shoulders: up like you're trying to get them to your ears, around, all the way back like you're trying to thrust out your chest again, all the way down (again, expect ominous clicking) do at least 10 full circles of your shoulders, keeping your arms over your head and moving your arms as little as possible (you're trying to work your shoulder muscles here, not your arm muscles)

Part 2: Exercises for wrists

Exercise 2.1

1) fold your hands together in front of you, palms against each other, fingers interlaced, fingertips resting against the back of the other hand 2) push your arms all the way out away from you, fingers still linked together, palms facing outward like you're trying to shove something away from you 3) extend your arms as far as you can. you'll feel the stretch in the insides of your wrists. hold that for 20-30 seconds

Exercise 2.2

4) with your arms still at full extension, lift your arms up over your head, moving from the shoulders but keeping the shoulders down and relaxed as much as possible, until your palms (still facing outward) are facing the ceiling hold for 20-30 seconds

Exercise 2.3

5) bring your arms back down so they're back to the position in step 2, hold for another 20-30 seconds 6) bring your arms back down to your sides, loosely, and let them hang there for a few seconds

Exercise 2.4

then, when you finish that one, rotate each wrist in circles at full extension (like, bent all the way back, rotating around to all the way side, to all the way front, etc) (rotate them under your own power, i mean, not by holding them with the other hand and rotating them)

Note from rahaeli

i usually combine most of these together, you can do the shoulder-circles at the same time you're doing the pushing-against-the-ceiling, for instance.

For general RSI prevention tips and changes you can make to your workspace: RSI Prevention and You