I was pretty much a full time nerd with no interest in physical activities until my body started to break down because of it. 20 years of non-activity has been far more harmful to my body than sugar, cigarettes, alcohol and cellphone radiation. Combined.
My quads were so weakened my patella’s were hanging around my ankles. Some of the damage can’t be undone. But thanks to regular exercise, I will always be pain-free. I’m very aware that most of the weak spots in my body are related to sitting and computer use. So every gym session I spend about 5 minutes working on the smaller muscles that I need to take good care of:
Wrist curls – Weak lower arm muscles + massive amounts of computer use = trouble. Repetitive strain injuries are painful, and if left untreated, they can become close to permanent. There is no fun in being home sick if you can’t play Super Mario Galaxy. Of course, preventing RSI has a lot to do with the ergonomics of your workplace, taking frequent breaks etc. But these wrist curls sure help. I like to use the EZ-bar instead of a normal one, the grip is much more natural.
Shoulder mobility warm-up – Desk work seriously impairs your shoulder mobility. There’s a great movie with some exercises by Craig Ballantyne here. The arm cross is great and i do it religiously.
The smaller back and upper neck muscles – If you see someone sitting behind the pc, odds are you see them craning their head forward. This leads to horrible posture. It also overstreches and weakens the neck and smaller upper back muscles that are supposed to keep your head upright. It took a long time to find an exercise for this. What I do is take the seated row machine and put the seat all the way down.The bars are now a little above chest level, I load them up with a very light weight, focus on my lower neck/upper back muscles, and pull. I hold the pull for one second.
(Note: I’m still not a doctor, if you have a mobility problem or joint pain, go see your doctor and get a PT!)