Despite the recent craze for standing desks, writing remains a very sedentary occupation.
(full disclosure: I have a standing desk and it’s awesome)
Scribblers spend a lot of time on their butts. They also tend to hunch over their computer screens, bend their necks and round their shoulders.
All of which adds up to terrible posture in the short-term and severe back pain over the long haul.
If you spend a lot of time sitting, I invite you to try a quick experiment.
Stand up. Look in the mirror.
What’s your spine doing?
Your shoulders should be down, your feet squarely planted and your spine mostly straight.
In other words, it should look like this: (image courtesy bodybuilding.com)
If it doesn’t you might have a problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy back has three natural curves:
- an inward curve at the neck (the cervical curve)
- an outward curve at the upper back (the thoracic curve)
- an inward curve at the lower back (the lumbar curve)
Sitting a lot and not doing enough exercise can force these curves out of whack (not a medical term), leading to severe pain.
So what can you do about it?
The first step is being aware. Our bad habits are mostly unconscious so switching your brain on is half the battle.
Every time you sit down to work take a moment to think about how your body feels.
Check in with your muscles and your spine and figure out what’s tight, what needs to loosen up and what you should be adjusting.
Oh, and don’t cross your legs. Ever.
Ideally, this is what you’re aiming for:
Aside from making sure you don’t get up from your desk like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s also a good idea to introduce some healthy habits when you’re not working.
If you’re really worried about possible back pain (or suffering already), I highly recommend Pilates which helps strengthen the core, back and glute muscles – all of which are constantly working to support your skeleton.
Yoga is great for stretching out tight muscles and improving your flexibility.
Swimming and walking are also great options for getting moving.
And if you really want to dive into the science of alignment, check out Nutritious Movement.
Katy’s no longer actively blogging but has amassed a vast archive of research and practical information about how you can move better, stand better and generally live better.
Also, you will learn more about your pelvis than you ever thought possible.