Introducing the Windows 8 Workout Video!

Are you feeling the strain from your new Windows 8 laptop? Does constantly reaching for the touch screen have your shoulders and back screaming in pain? Is your wrist reeling from too much pinching and zooming? Then you need to try our Windows 8 Workout! By completing these five easy exercises, you can go from wincing in pain to browsing your Windows 8 notebook like the champion you are. 

So sit up straight, plant your feet on the floor and follow along as we get you in shape with Windows 8!

Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) and related injuries are no joke, leaving some victims with chronic pain or impairment for the rest of their lives. And yet for even the most Mountain Dew-tweaked marathon coder, a few simple movements can help prevent injury and the need for rehab.

1. The 20-20 rule (or The Ballmer)

The biggest evil to avoid is prolonged periods of muscle tension — like the kind you’d get from leaning forward with your arm extended. And that means less sitting still for hours at a time and more getting up, moving around and getting your blood pumping. In short, shake it like Ballmer! Cindy Burt, the Injury Prevention Division Manager at UCLA’s Office of Environment, Health and Safety, says users should get up and move around for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. “You’ll relax the muscles that are tense when you’re seated, allowing oxygen and nutrients to flow into them,” she said. “And you get the same effect as you’d get from a 5- to 10-minute break every hour or two.”

MORE: Are Windows 8 Touch Laptops Bad For Your Health?

2. Control-Z, or The Undo

“If you’re going to be reaching forward a lot, then you’re going to want to kind of apologize to your body by moving your muscles in the opposite direction on occasion,” Burt said. For a Windows 8 user, that means performing a shoulder retraction. Stand up and try to squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold it a few seconds and release. Get in the habit of doing that a few times per hour.

3. Limbo Light

Especially for those who will be using a desktop touch-screen monitor and thus often leaning forward to extend their arm, you’ll want to counterbalance those moves. Once again, stand up and do a very slight backward bend while lightly holding your hands on your hips — similar to a store clerk looking askance at a shoplifter. You’ll feel a very gentle tug in your stomach muscles, and your back muscles will get a chance to relax. Crucially, your neck should stay neutral. That means don’t tuck your chin, or worse, look up as you’ll fall backward.

4. The Turtle

“I’m really careful when I tell people to do neck exercises because so many already have neck issues you don’t want to exacerbate,” Burt said. She noted that most people tend to let their head hang a little more forward than is ideally optimal; your ears should be on the same plane as your shoulders. “Windows 8 has both visual targets and reaching targets, so you have to be very careful that you’re not constantly in the forward head position.” To compensate, sit up straight with your ears positioned correctly, and then slowly tuck your chin toward your chest. To help maintain better posture, sit with your butt to the back of your chair with your feet on the floor and your elbows comfortably at rest on the desk or armchairs.

5. Forearm stretch

“One of the best exercises to relax arm muscles is a forearm stretch,” Burt said. Straighten an arm with the elbow locked and your palm facing down. Using the opposite hand, grab your hand and bend it down at the wrist until you feel the pull of muscles in your forearm. Repeat with the other arm. 

Hat tips to Daniel P. Howley, Senior Staff Writer and Lisa Eadicicco, Staff Writer. Contributor