For those of you who are sitting at a desk hovered over a computer or laptop, most of the day, this blog is for you!
My work at EllenDolgen.com keeps me glued to my desk chair working on my computer most of the day and sometimes into the night. Consequently, I find myself experiencing a variety of neck/back challenges that I never used to have.
I reached out to my wonderful trainer, Daniel Shamburg, MS, CSCS and founder of ShiftFitness, who helps me stay on my path of healthy aging to see how I can best tackle this new work related problem.
Daniel told me there are a number of tips that can help those of us whose jobs cause us to be glued to the internet, stay pain-free while we work.
1. Be more aware of your posture. Posture, like muscles, needs to be worked on to improve. When we sit for prolonged periods of time the head, shoulders and torso round forward. This forward posture increases the amount of strain on our neck and spine. Over time, chronic shoulder, neck, and low back pain can develop.
2. Take a break and stand up! Take a break and stand every 30 minutes (2 – 5 minutes at a time). I now use the timer on my cell phone to remind me to get up and take a break, being mindful of getting my shoulder and neck back.
3. Exercise during the day. Walk stairs, stretch, and activate your muscles. Daniel recommends establishing a daily step goal using these guidelines:
- Less than 5,000 steps = Sedentary
- 5,000 – 7499 = Low Active
- 7,500 – 9,999 = Somewhat Active
- Greater than 10,000 steps = Active
4. Keep track of your steps. You can purchase devices like Fitbit, which is a pedometer that will keep track of your steps and help motivate you to get up and move. Some of these type of devices can even alert you when you haven’t been moving! Don’t worry, they don’t yell, these are gentle reminders.
5. Use proper sitting form.
- Keep your feet planted evenly on the floor.
- Sit up straight and tall with your shoulders pulled back. (This one is challenging for me!)
- Align your ears, shoulders & hips.
- Adjust monitor height so that your web taskbar is at eye level. (This makes a huge difference!)
6. Utilize Mobility and Strength Exercises.
- Strengthen your back muscles to help keep you upright and maintain good posture.
- Sitting for too long can cause your head and shoulders to pull forward, resulting in a “hunched over” position. Focus on strengthening those shoulder and chest muscles.
- Take a look at this video for an example of these strength exercises.
Gotta go now, my timer just went off. Time to stand up!
My Motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!
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