In Bermuda, most of us spend the majority of our workday at the desk. *File photo
In Bermuda, most of us spend the majority of our workday at the desk. *File photo

You’re probably sitting at a desk right now reading this article. Do not move! Think about your posture for a few moments. Are you hunched over? Is your upper back rounded? Has the arch in your lower back flattened out?

These are all common postural distortions when sitting in front of a computer.

In Bermuda, most of us spend the majority of our workday at the desk. This can be up to eight hours for some people and maybe even longer.

The common complaints from overexposure to staring at your desktop or laptop are stiffness in the neck and frequently more headaches.

Whenever you’re sitting and working in front of your computer and you start feeling neck tension, body aches and pains then stand up and take deep diaphragmatic breaths for a couple of minutes.

In this day and age, most people have a tendency to shallow breathe into the lungs through their mouth, which is just a bad habit and leads to stress throughout the body. 

The breath is the most important part of our life. We should breathe in and out through our nose. Look at how a baby breathes. This is how we were born to do it.

To breathe diaphragmatically, when we inhale, the first two-thirds of the breath start deep into the abdomen and then the final third sees the chest expand. When we exhale, we allow the abdomen to soften and the chest to relax.

You can place one hand on your lower abdomen and the other on your chest to help you establish this way of breathing.

We should also use a variety of stability exercises to strengthen all the stabilizer muscles in the body so we don’t’ fatigue as quickly when looking at that computer screen. My favourite is the Supine Lateral Ball Roll described here:

Roll back on a Swiss ball until the ball supports your head, shoulders and upper back.

• Lift your hips up until they are level with your knees and shoulders. Place your tongue on the roof of the mouth.

• Hold your body with perfect alignment (hips and arms should stay parallel to the floor). Keep your feet still as you roll across the ball to one side.

• Pause and return to the centre.

• Move only as far to the side as you comfortably can with good alignment.

• You may only be able to move an inch or two, which is fine.

The tempo needs to be slow for these types of exercises. Aim for three sets with each set lasting at least 100 seconds. Otherwise, you’ll be training fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are responsible for quick movement, as opposed to slow-twitch, which are more postural in orientation. 

During any stability training work we need these sets to be long. Therefore intensity needs to be low so sets can be stretched out. Usually body weight is sufficient. 

We all need to work in front of a computer at some point nowadays, so try out these tips to keep you pain-free!

Colin Ayliffe is a certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach with over 10 years experience in training clients. He graduated from the University of Surrey with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Science and is also a CHEK Practitioner, Golf Biomechanic and accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.


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