This is an article I wrote for the latest work newsletter…enjoy.

One of the problems with being a genius on the computer is that I (obviously) sit in front of a computer much of the time. Most of my day is filled with me staring into a thin rectangular box. Even after my nightly workout, shower and feed time I still end up sitting in front of the computer for at least an hour. Sometimes I don’t even want to sit back down at the terminal but it calls to me with its shiny buttons and endless Internet. And like a chubby kid smelling cake, I can’t help but dive in.

Over time, sitting at the computer with bad posture can wreak havoc on your body. I have a friend that is an excellent programmer and has been hammering out code for the past 10 years. His programs are a thing of beauty but his spine looks like a wilted flower that has been sucked dry by the sun. He used to stand 6 feet tall but has now transferred those vertical inches forward. In other words he makes the hunchback of Notre Dame look like an all star athlete.

I shouldn’t point fingers because my back used to be strong like an Ox and straight as a board but now it’s ’strong’ like a cat and as straight as a gently warped board. The problem with me is that I sit in the weirdest positions throughout the day. Sometimes I hunch forward, other times I sit on my legs, but no matter what I always slouch. I know slouching makes me look about as professional as a guy wearing ripped jeans and socks with his flip-flops, but it’s a really bad habit I’ve had for years. I once worked with a massage therapist who gave me a stern lecture about posture when she saw how I was sitting at my computer. I really do try to heed her advice.

Possibly the most important thing I have learned to do when sitting at a computer for hours is to get my lazy butt up and move around. I’m no longer a spring chicken and I’ve noticed in my advanced age that if I sit for too long my lower back starts to hurt and my neck gets tight. Getting up and moving around doing some arms swings or cartwheels is a great way to get the blood flowing and to loosen your tight muscles. If you’re prone to headaches at work try some deep breathing and moving your head forward/backward, in a slow twisting motion or in a nice gentle circle. After being stationary for an extended period and doing these neck exercises I’ve found that my neck sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies on a Saturday morning…snap, crackle and POP! I usually feel better afterwards, but don’t blame me if your head falls off because you were too vigorous with these exercises. Start slow.

When standing you should also try to retain good posture. Try to stand with most of your weight on the balls of your feet and not on the heels. I am guilty of standing like a flat-footed platypus all too often. Your head should be back and your shoulders upright with your arms hanging naturally at your side. I’ve noticed when people stand it’s easy to see what sort of posture they’ve been positioned in most of their life. 

Without a doubt the best way to improve your posture is to exercise. I know this bit of advice will cause many to grumble since the only exercise they get is from 12oz curls, but exercise is really key. You don’t have to lift weights and look like the governor of California, but getting outside and walking can do wonders. In addition you can do non-impact things like Yoga or Pilates that will strengthen and stretch your body. Stretching can do wonders if your body is prone to getting ‘bound up’ after hunching behind your computer day after day.

No one wants to look like a hobbling hunch back when they grow up, so take care and beware of how you sit for extended periods of time. You’ll feel much better and your body will thank you. If you grow old and end up with only a view of your toes don’t say I didn’t warn you!




  1. mego said,

    July 1, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

    and you don’t want to look like the hunchback from notre dame!

  2. Anthony B. said,

    July 1, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

    Wowsa dude.
    Thanx for the lesson in posture..
    I feel so loved with all of that coaching..
    How can I ever say thanx… ;)

    __We are the Knights who say Ni__

  3. Phil Steller said,

    July 24, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    I’ve been very conscious of my posture lately, by chance. So I found your article interesting - and funny as always of course. I’ve been trying to sit up straight rather than slouching, especially when sitting on a bench or stool without a back. It is really challenging and requires a lot of concentration. In the end, I can’t really tell if I’m perfectly straight or not. One thing I notice when I do this though - I can breath better, and usually my “center of breathing” is lower - whether that’s good or bad I don’t know zip.

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