Fit Tip: Reducing back and shoulder pain

Spending too many hours hunched over a desk at work or a steering wheel in traffic are common triggers of back and shoulder pain. Follow these proactive tips from Fitness Town & Life Fitness to alleviate strain from your upper body, and help prevent tension headaches that may keep you from exercising.

1. Maintain good posture. Always be mindful of your posture, and avoid sitting for extremely long periods of time. If you sit for most of your day, aim to get out of your chair at least once per hour to move around, walk or stretch. You may also consider a standing work station.

When focusing on your posture, try to keep your ears in alignment with your shoulders. The average head weighs about 10 pounds; forward-leaning head posture puts a tremendous amount of tension on the neck and upper back.

2. Stretch your neck. For a good neck stretch, drop your chin to your chest, roll your head to the right and inhale. Exhale as you roll your head to the left side and then slowly back around.

3. Stretch your back. To stretch your back safely, clasp your hands behind your head and slowly arch your back so that you are gazing upward. Hold this pose for several seconds using one or both hands at a time. Repeat until your tension feels relieved.

4. Stretch your shoulders. Shrug a few times and gently roll your shoulders backward and forward. Put your arms straight out with your palms down, and make 10 or so small circles with your arms extended.

Use these tips the next time you start to feel neck or shoulder tension, and you will really notice a difference!



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