“Hey Michael, don’t jump on the bouncy castle!”
There is an episode of the popular sitcom The Office, where Michael Scott, the socially obtuse manager, is trying to teach his employees about workplace safety. However, he is mostly concerned with proving that the upstairs desk jobs are just as physically demanding as the loading jobs in the warehouse below. Per usual, Michael’s ideas come up short; the most taxing problem that he and his upstairs employees come up with is the need to “wear a light sweater” in case the office is over-chilled.
The episode ends with Michael on the roof of the building, pretending like he’s going to commit suicide because of the dangers of workplace depression (and depression is of course a very real thing, but we’ll save that for another article).
The point is that working professionals have traditionally not faced a lot of physical dangers and they haven’t necessarily needed to fix or prevent ailments, especially compared to the back-breaking labor of say, a construction worker, or furniture mover, or warehouse loader. Darrel, the warehouse supervisor from The Office, might have described it best when he told Michael, “you live a sweet, little nerfy life. Sittin’ on your biscuit. Never having to risk it.”
Chained to a desk all day, typing away?
Now we are realizing, though, that hunching over a computer all day can cause some real problems: back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow. Apparently we do have to risk it, a little bit. If only Michael had known! The good news is there are some exercises available to counteract the strain of being chained to a desk all day. The following video was created by Dr. Harrison specifically for gamers (cue the warehouse workers of the world, accusing desk workers that they are similar to gamers, just nerfy nerds!). It offers helpful exercises that will apply to the sore and over-worked, or over-typed fingers and wrists of the professional world.
Some quick tips pulled from the video:
- Take a five minute break every 60 minutes.
- Once or twice a day, run your hands under warm water for about five minutes. Move your fingers around in the warm water.
- Engage in a series of hand stretches: extend your hand with all five fingers, clench your hand into a fist, fold your hand in half, pull your hand into a claw, clench your hand into a fist again, repeat.
- Stretch each finger back individually. Focus specifically on the thumb.
- Open your hands as wide as you can (JAZZ HANDS!) Close them until your fingers touch. Repeat.
- Extend your elbow. Stretch your hand from there, moving it around and around. Curl your elbow in again.
- Shake out your hands and fingers once every 1-2 hours.
If your co-workers think you are crazy while you are following these tips, take heart! You will have the healthiest hands in the office! You will outlast everybody in this digital age! Also, consider this: you will never be as crazy as Michael Scott!