I bet people didn’t have these problems in the Stone Age. When you went out to hunt woolly mammoth it was different every time. True, you might get gored, but your risk of repetitive stress injuries was minimal.
Not like today. Now that we do most of our hunting online, our bodies are stressed in different ways.
But if you’ve noticed your shoulders creeping up to your ears, especially after you’ve spent a lot of time working at your computer, take heart. There are ways to undo that damage and prevent recurrences.
Sit Up Straight
Long, long ago, shortly after the woolly mammoth disappeared, people used typewriters to prepare documents and the instructors who taught them how to type always emphasized proper posture. Sounds quaint and old-fashioned, right? But just like eating right and getting enough sleep, it works. Set up your computer so your knees, spine and elbows are at right angles to each other. Keep it that way, and you won’t hurt so much at the end of the day.
Stretch Like an Eagle
This yoga pose is great for shoulders, and you can do it at your desk without attracting too much attention. Start by holding your arms out in front of you. Bend your elbows, palms facing in, to a 90-degree angle. Keep your arms in that position and slide your right arm on top of your left. Try to put your palms together (don’t worry, very few people can line them up exactly). Raise your elbows until you feel a nice stretch across shoulders. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Do the same with your other arm.
Here’s another great desk pose. Hold your arms out straight at your sides. Raise your right arm straight up, bend it and stretch your hand down the middle of your back. Next, take your left arm behind your back, bend it and try to clasp your hands together. Don’t worry if you can’t do it, it’s the stretching action that helps. Do the same with your other hand.
Hold Up the Wall
This is one you have to stand up for, an arm’s length from the wall, as a matter of fact. Make sure that you’re all lined up; head is straight, shoulders over knees over heals. Rotate your hand on the wall, fingers pointing behind you, until it’s parallel to the floor. Start turning your body away from the wall, while keeping your hand in place. You might not get too far, but you will get a stretch. You can also tell your co-workers you’re making sure the roof doesn’t fall in.
Practice these stretches regularly and, while you might not be ready to tackle a woolly mammoth, 21st century work won’t take such a toll on you.
by Danielle Dresden