Online poker players encounter one of the most dangerous habits known to humankind. No, it’s not gambling. It is sitting down, hunched over while staring into the computer screen all day. Certain areas of the body become sore and postures start to worsen. But it’s easy to forget about the body when you are so enthralled in your work.
If you are an online poker player, then you know it is not a mystery as to why many poker players’ backs hurt while sitting immobile for hours at a time. Time just passes by and before you know it, you are struggling to climb out of your chair like most 80 year olds do. That would be fine if you were 80, but you are 60 years younger!
Here’s what a bad slouch can do to your body:
- You lean forward and your lower back discs bulge out.
- You lean to the left or right putting more pressure on your vertebrae disc.
- You lean in staring at the screen and strain your neck muscles.
- Your hip muscles shorten which causes more strain to the lower back.
- You cave in your chest as you slouch which shortens your chest muscles and strain your shoulder muscles.
- The list of body pain and origins can go on and on.
So here is the real question: what are you willing to do to make yourself feel better? As a massage therapist, I can recommend tips and stretches you can do before, during, and after to prevent massive overstrain on the body while playing your favourite game. However, it is your commitment to having a healthy body that will get you toward a healthier and longer shelf life!
Here are a few neck stretches you can start out with.
Turn your head side to side, spending about two seconds on each side. This is called dynamic stretching where you are just warming up your neck muscles. Remember to take nice deep breaths during this stretch. Repeat about 10 times.
Turn your head to one side and hold onto the side of your head. Gently pull down to where you feel a good stretch. (Advice: don’t yank your head down). Stay in this position for a few deep breaths. Turn your head to the opposite side and do the same stretch.
While in an upright posture, interlace your hands at the back of your head. Take a deep inhale. When exhaling, gently put bring your head down looking at the floor. When you feel a good stretch, stop and breathe. Then take another deep inhale and bring your head down more on the exhale. This stretch will alleviate neck and back tightness.
Tips While Stretching
- Breathe slow and deep. You bring in more blood flow and oxygen to your cells!
- Go slow and gentle. You will get a deeper stretch.
- Stay in the stretch for as long as it feels good.
- Stretching should not hurt so change your position if it does.
- Step away from the desk whenever you get a break and try to stretch every hour.
Keep up with the stretches and sit up straight while you work. You will feel a difference in your body!
Liza Lim is the owner of Revive Touch Massage & Well-Being Company. You can follow tips and ask for advice through the website www.Revivetouch.com or on Twitter @revivetouch.