There’s no question about it. Writing is cruel to our bodies. If we’re going to have a productive writing life without ending up as crocks, we need to care of ourselves.
1. Seating. Make sure you have a decent chair then check the following:
- Adjust the height of your seat so that your feet are flat on the floor
- Your knees should be level, or slightly lower than, your hips.
- Have the back of the chair at a slightly reclined angle (about 100 degrees).
- Support your upper and lower back with cushions if necessary.
- Tuck your bottom against the backrest. In other words, don’t slouch!
- If your feet don’t rest flat on the floor, get yourself a footrest–even a book will do the trick.
2. Exercise. As you work, try some or all of these:
- Fidget as you work and wiggle your hips.
- At the end of every page, stretch your arms up straight above your heads and give yourself a few claps.
- Next, clasp your hands behind your head and pull your elbows back. Repeat three times.
- Every few minutes, keeping your knees together, lift your heels up, your toes still on the floor. Repeat several times.
- Do the same only alternate heels.
- Rock your body gently back and forth or side to side occasionally.
- While still sitting, march on the spot.
3. Music. This can make your writing fun and help your back at the same time.
- Use music with a beat, and do the above exercise, lifting your legs as if you are marching in time to the music.
- If your chair swivels, try doing “The Twist” while sitting. Keeping your knees together, swing your body from side to side.
4. Get up. Set an alarm so that you don’t lose track of the time. Get up and move around at least every 30 minutes.
- Touch your toes. (Well at least try!)
- Stand in a doorway and stretch to touch the top. (Whenever I walk through a doorway, I make a point of touching the top as I walk through.)
- Lean your back against the wall with your feet in front of you. Move your feet away from the wall, about the length of your foot, and flatten your back against the wall. Hold the position for 20 seconds then relax. Try this several times.
Do these regularly and you’ll be surprised how your backache eases. Of course, you can find many more back exercises on the web.