For the past couple of months, I head home at the end of the work day with seriously tense, sore upper back and neck muscles. Most days, I feel it setting in before lunch, and once it’s there, it’s there to stay.
As far as I know, I’m doing a lot of the right things ergonomically: my computer is a laptop, but I have it propped up on a couple of thick phone books so the monitor is at eye level; I use a separate keyboard on one of those keyboard trays that attaches under the desk; I try to be aware of my posture.
All of this pain from spending a huge chunk of my day sitting and working at a computer reminded me of some articles from earlier this year that talk about the dangers of prolonged sitting. See, some recent studies show that even if you are one of the very few people who get at least 30 minutes of activity a day (heck, even if you get 60 minutes of activity a day), if you spend long periods of time sitting (as many of us do for our jobs), you’re at higher risk for a variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Recently, I’ve been trying to break up the sitting at the desk by taking at least one, if not two, short walks during the day. I’m also experimenting with giving up my 6-year-long practice of sitting on an exercise ball, based on this article. I’m also looking into small exercises or stretches that I can incorporate into the work day — there are some suggestions here.
What are your tips or tricks for making a desk job more active? Any suggestions out there for the neck and upper back pain?