As a full-time freelance writer I spend more than 10 hours a day at my desk, which is not good for the body. Having a desk job can cause numerous health problems: back pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, blood clots in the legs, edema and weight gain. Despite the disadvantages, we have to pay the bills. Therefore, we can’t avoid sitting at our desks, but we can learn how to stay healthy while we write for hours.
Yes, I know it’s hard not to break bad habits, but if we try hard, we can train our minds to break those habits. What habits am I referring to? Poor posture, lack of movement, eating while we write… the list could go on, but I think you get the picture. The question now is are you ready to learn how to stay healthy while writing?
Stop slouching! I’m just as guilty as you are, but it’s a habit we need to break to avoid back problems. If you’re anything like me, I catch myself propping my head in my hand while reading. What about when I’m typing and have to use both hands? Well, that’s when I find myself slouching almost as bad. To change this, we should train ourselves to sit up straight and place our feet flat on the floor or prop them on a footstool. Personally, I think I’m going to invest in a comfortable footstool that will fit under my desk.
Take a break every once in a while to move around. In between clients you could take a walk to clear your head, put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, fold the laundry, load the dishwasher, tidy up the living room, vacuum the floors or just stretch and walk around for a few minutes. Taking short breaks between clients to carry out one or more of these tasks is good for the body and will help re-energize you.
Perform desk exercises to stay healthy while writing. Not all exercise requires you to go to the gym or get out of your chair. Although it’s probably best to exercise away from your desk, our job keeps us at our desk for hours. That said, here are seven exercises you can do at your desk:
1. Body Rotations: This exercise is courtesy of Break Pal. See their video below for instructions on how to do this desk exercise. If you’d like to see more of Break Pal’s desk exercises, visit their YouTube channel.
2. Chair Twists: While sitting straight with your feet flat on the floor, turn your body to the left, and then back to face your computer screen. Next, twist your body to the right then back to face your computer screen again. Repeat 10 times.
3. Butt Squeezes: Straighten up and place your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt cheeks together using your butt muscles (like you would do if you had to take a dump but someone else was in the bathroom — pardon my language, but that’s the best way I know to describe it). Hold that position for about five seconds and release. Do this 10 or 15 times.
4. Leg Lifts: Raise and lower your left leg, and then raise and lower your right leg. Continue doing this until you’ve done 15 with each leg.
5. Heel Raises: Sitting straight, toward the edge of your chair, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, raise your heels until you come up to the balls of your feet. Then lower your feet back to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
6. Leg Spread: Scoot to the back of your chair and straighten your back. Spread both your legs as far as you can, hold for two seconds, and then close your legs. Do this 10 times as well. Yes, I realize this sounds horrible, but it’s also the best way I know to describe this desk exercise.
7. Sedentary Running: Once again, sitting straight but with legs together. Now raise both legs and kick really fast, like your running. Do this for at least two minutes.
Stay Healthy While Writing With Under-the-Desk Exercise Equipment
In addition to performing the desk exercises I described above, you can also purchase exercise equipment that will fit under your desk and use it while you’re working. Below you’ll find some exercise equipment small enough to fit under a desk that should give you a good workout and help you stay healthy while writing.
Are there other ways you stay healthy while writing? Share your advice in the comments area.