The majority of students and teachers that I work with report that they spend at least a few hours a day on a computer. The result of frequent and long-term computer use is that the body begins to form itself around the task of typing. This means that your shoulders hunch forward, your chin pokes out, and your upper back begins to round. This kind of posture can cause a lot of back and neck pain, headaches, rotator cuff issues, and repetitive strain on the elbows and wrists. In a series of short pieces I hope to offer you a few exercises that can help you to counter Desk Jockey Syndrome. And, if I ever learn how to edit video I’ll put some ideas up on our site that will lead you through these exercises in video. Stay tuned.
Exercise #1 – Freeze You’re Under Arrest
This technique is a great ‘all-rounder” for helping to improve the slouched upper back, bring the head back into alignment, and strengthen the rotator cuff of your shoulder which will help to prevent joint issues of shoulder, elbow and wrist. As always, postural alignment needs to be done slowly and sweetly. Using force or trying too hard can cause injury – so breathe deeply and take your time.
To Start: Stand with your back against the wall. You can have your feet a little away from the wall if that feels more natural. Raise your arms up so that upper arms are parallel to the ground, and forearms are perpendicular, palms facing out. Just like you would if someone shouted “freeze”.
What’s Happening Now?: Can you, while breathing rhythmically and deeply, get your tail, mid back, upper back, and head, on the wall? Allow a little space between your lower back and the wall – but not big enough to put a fist in. Can you now work on getting your elbows and wrists on the wall? It might not happen today, but keep working on it 10% at a time.
Breathe: Stay here for a few breaths. Imagine you are zipping up a tight pair of pants; this will help you get your core muscles active and supportive. Think about lengthening the back of the neck so that you are getting taller with each breath.
Move: On an inhale, slide your hands up the wall a few inches. On your exhale, slide your arms back down a few inches. Repeat this 5-8 times or until you feel tired or tense.
Tomorrow: Do it again. Repeat the exercise daily and see your posture and performance improve steadily and sweetly.
Note: If you experience any pain or discomfort, see your doctor or health care provider. Not every exercise is for everyone. Practice caution and awareness any time you attempt a new exercise.