One of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid developing injuries – repetitive strain or otherwise – is to strengthen your body with regular exercise. We're not saying that you need to start going to the gym everyday until you're red in the face and cannot move, but there are simple body strengthening exercises that you can do 3-4 times a weeks that will have a positive impact on your body's ability to deal with the daily stresses and strains of modern life.
A staple exercise if there ever was one, doing sit ups will help to strengthen your body's core and will help to tone your stomach. On average, anyone under 40 should be able to do between 40 and 59 proper sit ups and those over 50 should be able to do between 25 and 45. You'll notice that we said 'proper sit ups', which involves lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then curling your shoulders up toward your pelvis.
There is no need to sit up right, and in fact you do not even need to come more than half way up. Just place your hands behind your behind your ears, keep your eyes on the ceiling and try to pull your shoulders as close to your pelvis as possible. That is it.
Considering how much time the average office worker spends sitting, you'd think this would be a lot easier than it actually is. With your back flat against a wall, slide yourself down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor and at a right angle with your shins.
Hold this position for as close to a minute as you can. You will definitely start to feel 'the burn' within the first 10 seconds and chances are that your legs will have turned to jelly within the first 30 seconds. Not to worry though, just keep at it and you will quickly improve.
A relatively friendly exercise for beginners that will help you to improve your core strength, side planks require you to lie on your side and prop yourself up on one elbow and one foot. To make the most of this exercise you need to ensure that your hips are lifted and you can feel your abdomen tightening.
This is an easy exercise to trick yourself into thinking you're good at, as the lower your hips dip the more the work is spread along the rest of your body. If your hips start to lower, do your best to keep them high until you cannot support them anymore. You should try to sustain this position for between 30 – 60 seconds, then give yourself a short 20 second break, and then go again.
Ideally done with proper weights, you can also use unopened bags of sugar or flour to perform bicep curls. With one weight in both hand, stand with your feet spread shoulder-width apart and your palms facing forwards. Bending at the elbow, squeeze one of your biceps so that it pulls the weight up to your shoulder, then slowly lower it back down, then repeat it with the other arm.
Keep going until both arms have lifted the weight ten times each, and then if you feel up to it, do another five, and another five, and another five, until one of your arms can no longer manage. One arm will naturally be stronger than the other, but it is important that both arms are lifting the same weight so that they grow at the same rate.
A great exercise for strengthening your lower body and core, doing squats properly will improve your posture and circulation. Simply stand up straight with your feet in line with your hips and your arms at your side. Lower your body gently back by pushing your hips and bending your knees, ensuring that all your body weight feels like it is being pushed into your heels.
Your arms will want to raise as you lower yourself, and feel free to let them as this will help you to keep your balance. Never let your knees pass over your toes and make sure that your chest is always lifted, straight and not bending toward the floor. Once you have gotten as low as you can, hold it for a couple of seconds before raising yourself slowly up again. Repeat 10 – 20 times.
Even if you just do these five body strengthening exercises several times a week, you ought to feel better within yourself in a couple of weeks. Once you have gotten the hang of these exercises you should start to introduce other, more advanced exercises, as after a while the benefits of repeating the same exercises begins to wane.