If your job keeps you behind a desk for most of the day, the way mine does, chances are it is giving you a pain in the neck. Shoulder tension and bad posture contribute a lot to the pains of sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer or doing paperwork all day.
Now, having two children keeps me popping up throughout the day, and I’m lucky that I have that enforced movement periodically. Many people are basically trapped behind their desks with little chance to get up and move about which creates fatigued muscles and pain.
As a full-time freelancer and full-time mom, I am often torn between spending time with the kids and sitting at my desk and getting my work done. During the summer months, I confess I am often drawn away from work to play with the kids, and while they’re still young I want to take advantage of that as much as possible. However, when school starts I have no distractions and tend to get involved in my work, forgetting to take breaks and move around. That’s when the pain starts.
Getting Your Move On
One way I’ve found to keep myself active, and avoid the fatigue that comes from tired muscles that never move and are over-stressed from bending over my keyboard is to keep a set of Bowtech SelectTech® dumbbells next to me. I use a small kitchen timer to remind myself to take regular breaks every hour and when it goes off, I push away from the desk, and pick up the dumbbells.
I don’t even have to get up to work out my stiff, tight muscles. I just dial the proper weight level and do several repetitions of arm exercises to loosen up the muscles in my arms, shoulders and neck. I can even do my exercises late at night when I’m trying to get my work in after the kids have gone to bed since the dumbbells are not metal; they don’t make a lot of noise like old-fashioned ones do.
I also try to plan a walk during the middle of the day. When the kids are home, this is a great family activity that helps all of us stay in shape. On the weekends, everyone is included; my husband Dave and even my parents who live next door. Walking is such a great way to loosen up sore muscles, and it is something anyone at any age can do which makes it great for our multi-generational family.
More Great Ways to Loosen Up Stiff Muscles
Along with walking and using the weights at my desk, I have come up with three more ways to help get rid of those stiff muscles that cause neck pain and I want to share them with you:
- Make “me” time: a short warm bath, or just a little quiet time locked away with a book or to rest my eyes every day is not only great for my stiff muscles, it is rejuvenating and makes me ready for anything my family and life can throw at me.
- Start a workout regimen: besides my hourly desk weights, I also do a workout several times a week to strengthen my muscles. That way they aren’t as easily fatigued. I found the right one by reading about the ones I was most interested in, and the reviews for P90X® sold me on it.
- Drink lots of water: I was guilty of not drinking enough water. I was a coffeeholic, and still am, but I make sure I get in at least 8 big glasses of water every day. It helps to lubricate muscles and is just generally great for your body.
All of the above tips for getting rid of that nasty pain in the neck also help you lose weight-added bonus! That’s especially important for those of us that sit behind a desk all day. Those added pounds and the dreaded “secretary spread” that is a result of sitting on your backside all day will be a lot less of a problem with these 5 tips.
Melissa Cameron lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and their two children. Her parents live right next door creating the perfect extended multi-generational family unit. She is a successful freelance writer who spends a lot of time creating helpful ways for people with busy lives to deal with the stress and difficulties they face when working and making time for family and themselves.