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Recently Kris and I presented a short talk on Office Exercises to a group of employees at Shell.

It is a topic close to my heart, or rather a topic that will remain with me for rest of my life. It is due to the long hours (in my past life!) sitting and working at the computer that I have a chronic neck and shoulder problem.

Sitting and working at the computer are common features of today’s office environment – and these features are now pervasive at home. According to an IDA survey (2011), 86% of Singapore households have at least one computer.

1. Forward head posture
2. Rounded upper back
3. Slumped lower back
4. Hips flexed
5. Wrist pronated (palm facing down)

1. Tight neck/shoulder muscles
2. Weak upper back muscles
3. Weak lower back muscles
4. Tight hip flexor/hamstring muscles
5. Tight arm muscles

These tight and weak muscles can lead to a number of physical problems such as neck pain, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome.

The use of computers is the norm today – so what can we do to reduce the risk of damaging our musculoskeletal structure?

Pilates as a form of body conditioning has shown positive results in reducing this risk and/or to manage existing problems caused by prolonged sitting at the computer. I wish I had taken Pilates classes when I was working in an office and could have avoided my neck and shoulder problem. It is never too late – Pilates classes have helped me manage my problem so that I can function daily without pain and to even perform advanced movements!

Since it was a very short talk at Shell, my intention is to bring awareness to people about the hazards of prolonged sitting at the computer and do something positive about it.

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