A few weeks ago I went to a chiropractor because my upper arm was hurting. I thought I’d strained it lifting a weight in a class at the gym. But no, it was because I spend so long at my computer each day. By sitting hunched over my computer, I’m developing round shoulders which is weakening my pec muscles. This, in turn, has affected the muscle in my arm.
So, I’ve now got a whole load of daily stretching and strengthening exercises that will (hopefully) rectify the problem.
Useful tips if you’re at your screen all day
As freelancers, we spend a great deal of time at our computers. Well, unless you are a freelance personal trainer or musician or something else that’s non-office bound. But I suspect most of us pass the majority of the day sitting staring at a screen. So, here are some tips I have picked up along the way that I thought would be useful to share with you.
- Try not to spend more than 45 minutes at a time sitting in your chair. Get up, walk about and stretch for a minute or two.
- Make sure your computer screen is at eye level. This can be a problem if you work on a laptop. I’ve got my screen on top of a couple of thick tomes to avoid having to stare downwards all the time.
- Also make sure your screen is close enough to you. If you have it too far away from you, the tendency is to stick your neck forward.
- Buy a chair that’s fully adjustable and make sure it’s adjusted properly for you. I know a phsyiotherapist and an osteopath who have dispensed with chairs altogether and sit at their desks on a Swiss ball. They both told me it’s better for the posture.
- Sit square on, facing your computer screen and don’t cross your legs.
- You probably think you are sitting fairly upright when at your desk (I did) but the likelihood is you will be hunched as you type. To compensate for sitting in this position, here are some useful stretching exercises.
- Keyboarding every day puts a strain on our arms, so a good way to stretch these muscles is as per the photo below:
- Roll a bath towel into a sausage shape and lie on the carpet with the towel under your spine. Stretch your arms right out so you are in a T position and hold for at least 20 seconds. This helps to stretch your pec muscles.
- Kneel on all fours and round your back into a cat stretch. Then arch your back. Repeat four times. This helps with spine flexibility.
- It’s also good to stretch out the neck, so put your hands behind you head and let your head fall forward for 15 seconds. You will feel the stretch down the back of your neck. Then hold the side of your head with your left hand and gently lean your head to the left, as per the photo above. You will feel the stretch down the right hand side of your neck. Repeat to the other side.
Repeat these exercises at the end of every day.
How do you compensate for the fact you spend so long at your computer each day?