How we position ourselves through the day can have a major effect on our bodies, especially those things that we do for long periods of time.
When we are sitting at a desk, we have to make sure we are eye level with our screen and close enough so we’re not leaning forward, as seen in the image below. If you need to, stack some books under your screen to raise it. It’s ok to look up a little higher to try to counteract the constant looking down at our phones and tablets.
The muscles in the back on the neck are being stretched when looking down, causing the front neck muscles to be in constant contraction. For long periods of time, the muscles in the back of the neck become over-stretched and weak and the ones in the front become stronger but also shorten since there in constant contraction.
Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle with the keyboard and your wrist should be in a neutral position. Feet on the ground and your back should be up straight against the chair. I know this can be hard! Some of us have very weak cores but its a challenge! If your up for it you can switch you chair to an exercise ball, but beware you will get tired fast and that’s ok just keep pushing yourself and switch back and forth from the chair. The other option is to get the standing desk or the platform that can be laid on a desk and convert to standing especially if your going to be on it for hours at a time.
Long term Effects
Several things can happen depending on what positions we favor the most for the longest periods of time.
As we position ourselves in these awkward ways, our muscles adapt to those postures. Over time, the muscles shorten and the opposing muscle weakens. These can lead to nerve entrapment which can cause numbness, tingling, burning sensations and shooting pain. Last we want is to have surgery when we can get ahead of it with the right approach.
There are many things that we can do to help ourselves to prevent it from getting worse.
Exercise. Yup I’m sure some of you dread this but its part of being human lol. We need to keep working our muscles, so we can keep moving! Muscles can weaken and atrophy, in case you don’t know what atrophy means, it means die, non-functioning. Yeah we don’t want that! So keep pushing yourself to move, move, move! I know we all heard the saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, this is very true when it comes to muscles. Maybe exercising isn’t your thing, you don’t have to go to the gym or lift weights. You can go bike riding, gardening, swimming, walking on the beach, etc.
Yoga is another option for great stretching and strengthening. Those who do yoga on a regular basis are less prone to injury, so this means less chances of pain! Sounds good to me! Whatever it is, find it and keep up with it!