If you have been a heavy computer or cellphone user , you are likely familiar with various ergonomic issues , correct workstation sitting postures and all associated with it.
I’ll remind you.
This is how a typical heavy computer user looks like. It does not matter if you sit in ergonomic chair with a monitor at proper height on an “arm” stand. Even if your workplace is perfect, it isn’t after several hours of heavy use. This is what YOU look like. So that you know that a fancy sitting ball did not help him at all, here’s a picture from the back : shoulders are still slouching.
After decade or more of this , you will inevitably develop various body and skeletal problems. Starting from poor posture to “forward head” posture and other issues associated with misaligned spine and imbalance of the front and back muscles.
Notice how on the next picture, person on the left has “head forward”, flat back. What we also highlighted on this picture is the fact that his shoulders went forward, creating long back muscles and short front ones. His stomach and rib cage also collapsed, creating various muscular-skeletal problems.
If you work 8 or more hours a day like that for 10 years or more, you will inevitably develop problems that will require visits to chiropractor or various other doctors. Worst cases end up with a lower back spine surgery and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What does all have to do with Allergies and Asthma?
Look at the pictures above. Back and shoulders collapsed forward, rib cage is pressing on your lungs and stomach muscles. As years go by, lung volume slowly decreases. The diaphragm eventually gets stuck. Abdominal muscles get weaker and won’t support vertical posture and correct spine anymore. This will send all sorts of wrong signals to your brain about the lungs.
As you keep slouching at your computer, laptop or a mobile phone, this misalignment keeps building, resulting in asthma-like symptoms.
Simple Exercises for Heavy Computer Users
It won’t be enough to remind that you have to do stretch exercises. There are numerous types available , just search the internet for “stretching for computer users”. Here we will list several very basic exercises that are going to help you tremendously and will point in the right direction to a healthier lifestyle.
Let us also mention that you won’t be able to get correct instructions from a pumped up 20 year old gym instructor, because this is not a typical problem of a 20 year old. I’d expect this to be common when you are 40+. A push-up exercises that are recommended for young adults to balance back rotator muscles with the front are only going to hurt you, because your back rotator muscles are long and your front chest muscles are short naturally from bad posture. In fact, your rotator bone is also misaligned, it is rotated , and any strong exercises and physical activities such as running before this (and your spine) are balanced can potentially lead to only more problems.
What you need is opposite stretches and exercises that will shorten and strengthen your back muscles, while making chest muscles longer. Yoga is also highly recommended, and we will show one yoga position that should help significantly.
1. Put your arms behind you in a lock. Breath in, pull arms as far back as possible. Breath out – relax.
2. Wall Stand Stretch. Stand with your back to the wall. Hands apart , palms of your hands outside (picture below, Pose 1 on the left). Make sure back of your feet, buttocks, shoulders, hands and your head all are aligned against the wall. Look straight forward, not up or down. Stay like this for 30-50 seconds. Do this type of stretch throughout the day, 5-7 times, your nervous system needs to remember the right posture.
3. Corner Stretch, or Doorway Stretch. Very simple, you will need a corner or a doorway. Stand facing the corner, or in the doorway with your arms up at or above the shoulders line, facing forward. Start pushing forward until you feel your chest muscles stretched. Don’t use too much force. Identify your personal best arms position where you feel stretch the best. Do this daily or every time you work at the computer for a prolonged time period.
4. Arms Back Rotation – hold your arms out with palms up, parallel to the ground. Start rotating arms 360 degrees backwards, 30-40 turns. Do this at least once per day. This will help shoulders and back rotator muscles and the bone to get back into the alignment.
5. Locust Pose / Salabhasana pose with legs down, or a variation of a Cobra pose in Yoga. In this variation, keep your legs and part of your chest down. Hold arms either on the sides or bent and pull your head and arms off the ground. For stronger effect rotate your palms until you feel strong stretch in the back between shoulder blades. Make sure stomach or lower back muscles don’t get engaged. Relax, breathe, hold for several breaths, lay down and relax.
Don’t expect immediate results. It will take at least a year of counter-balancing exercises to get your spine back in order and your proper posture back.
Happy and Healthy Living!