Like anyone in a profession that requires one to sit for long periods of time, I occasionally get a stiff neck or back. And I once suffered from wrist tendonitis for six months during a time when I was on deadline (excruciating!) But other than that, in more than twenty years of being a professional writer, I’ve rarely had any of the usual physical aches and pains that often plague writers. I’m convinced the reason is simply that I change positions a dozen times a day (if not more).
Over the years I’ve discovered the more I move around and write in different locations throughout the house, the fewer carpal, back, eyestrain, etc. issues I have. I usually start out my morning sitting Indian-style on the sofa, then move to the kitchen bar on a high stool mid-morning (I sometimes work there standing up, as well).
If the weather’s nice, I write out on the back deck in a rocking lawn chair, sometimes with my legs/feet propped up on the table. In the afternoon I work in my office either in a padded dining chair, seated on an exercise ball, or in my comfy low upholstered chair with my feet on a footstool. And if on deadline, I’m back on the sofa in the evening, with my feet on the coffee table. Occasionally, I write propped up in bed with my elbows on pillows.
Regardless of where I position myself, I try to get up and move around at least once an hour, if not more. Practicing this regimen of repositioning, I’ve only had one significant issue (the wrist tendonitis) since I started using my laptop as my only computer. And at the time that occurred, I’d been lax about changing positions. (I don’t know if it’s significant, but I don’t use a mouse either–only the trackpad on my laptop.)
Besides walking on the treadmill 4-5 mornings each week, I also lift 8-lb. hand weights 4-5 days a week for 5-8 minutes, including wrist curls. I’ve been doing that for the last five and-a-half years. I’m amazed at how much stronger my arms are since starting to lift weights just those few minutes a day!
Here are just a few of the writing positions my trusty laptop affords me:
- balanced on an exercise ball at my desk in my office
- sitting on the sofa with my feet propped on the low coffee table
- on a rocking deck chair with my feet propped on a high table
- sitting in bed propped by 6 fluffy pillows
- sitting on a high bar stool at the kitchen counter (or standing in front of it)
- sitting in a slipper chair in my office, feet propped on a footstool
- cross-legged or semi-reclining on the sofa in front of the TV (can’t write with the TV going, but I can work on my website, newsletter, Facebook, etc.)
- buckled in, in the passenger seat of our mini-van with my laptop on a pillow on my lap
Does your work require you to sit for long periods of time? Have you struggled with physical aches and pains because of it? Have you discovered ways to relieve—or better, prevent—such pain? Please share!