Quick Tip:
Stretch Your Body for Better Health and Greater Productivity

You spend long hours in front of a computer – so no wonder your upper back and neck feels sore. That's what happens when you sit in one position for long periods of time.

In addition to feeling sore, you also reduce your productivity. And, let's face it … it's hard to write great copy when you hurt.

What can you do about it? Here are some things to try:

  • Avoid raising or rounding your shoulders when you're at your computer. According to Erik Peper, professor of holistic health at San Francisco State University, about 95% of people do that – and sitting in that position puts pressure on your upper spine.
  • Take breaks. Set a timer for 30 to 45 minutes. When it goes off, get up and move around or do some stretches and deep-breathing exercises for at least five minutes. If your eyes feel strained, use your break time to drop in some "artificial tears."
  • Shift your position periodically. And try not to fall habitually into the same "computer position" while you work. Even small changes in posture help avoid overtaxing your muscles.
  • If your muscles feel tight, do some quick stretches while you're seated to elongate them.

Moving around and stretching improves your blood circulation. That brings oxygen to your neck and shoulder muscles and helps keep them from getting stiff.

When your neck and shoulders feel better, you'll no longer be distracted by your discomfort. You'll focus better and think more clearly. And that will do wonders for your writing.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: April 26, 2004

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