We’ve all heard the news. Sitting is going to kill us.
And as writers, we’ve all been told that the key to success is to sit your ass down and write.
So, are we writing ourselves to death?
Problems with sitting too much
Sitting too long, or generally doing anything for too long a time, is not good for our health. (Hopefully no one has done any studies on napping.)
Some of the complaints from too much time hunched over the keyboard include:
- Lower back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tight hamstrings
- Higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths
- Even dementia
Take Smart Breaks with Exercises to Counter Sitting All Day
So what’s a writer to do?
One of the ways to avoiding sitting for too long a stretch is to take a regular break.
But how many of us take a break by jumping onto Facebook or checking email or responding to a text? Raise your keyboard-damaged hand if you’re guilty of this.
So I talked to a number of experts and asked them what would be a better way to take a break, and here are a few recommendations of exercises to counter sitting all day.
This is the first in a two-part blog post. More recommendations to come next week!
Activating the Hamstrings with a Martial Arts Expert
Watch this video for a great exercise from Ashe Higgs, Licensed I Liq Chuan instructor:
Check out more of his practical videos by visiting fallingleaveskungfu.com
Eye Advice from a Feldenkrais Practitioner
Here is some advice from Julie Kahn, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner
I find that when I am working for a long time at the computer, my eyes start to lock onto the screen. I like to do subtle movements turning my head and slowly to the right and left noticing a point on the wall where I can go easily.
Then I begin to play around with the movement — 1) noticing how far down I can feel it; 2) leading with the eyes; 3) keeping the eyes looking forward while moving only the head, 4) looking only with the eyes, 5) noticing my breathing as I do the movement.
Then I repeat the first movement and see if anything has changed – can I feel the movement further down, has the spot on the wall changed where I can move easily.
I find that just 5 minutes of doing this helps create more freedom in my neck, shoulders, breath, and eyes and less likelihood of triggering a headache or dizziness after a day of eyes-glued-to-the-computer.
Stand Up Exercises from a Chiropractor
Here are some simple but effective exercises from Dr. Derek Boudreaux, DC, to reverse the detrimental impacts of sitting. He recommends for every a hour of sitting at least three minutes of these simple exercises to counter sitting all day. All these exercises start from standing.
Chest stretch – With your hands clasped, reach for the sky. Feel your body from your arms through your abdomen to both feet. Breathe in with the diaphragm, and notice your chest expand upon inhalation. Tighten yuor abdominals on exhalation. Bring your arms back to your sides. Repeat five times.
Neck stretch – Clasp your hands behind your head. Take a big belly breath in and on the exhale let your head gently fall chin to chest for 5 seconds. On the exhale, lift your chin to the sky stretching the front of your neck. Repeat the same with your head gently falling to the right and then to the left. Rolling your neck is not recommended.
Lower body activation – Bring your arms overhead, as you gently bend your knees and hips into a squat position. Repeat 10 times.
Optimize your health with a visit to Dr. Boudreaux at www.MillValleyChiro.com
Any exercises you like to do or can recommend?
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week when I will share advice from a few other experts.