People don’t usually equate writing (or spending long amounts of time at a desk / computer) with fitness. Near the beginning of 2013, I began to suffer from an ache of doom in my right arm, affecting my ring and pinky fingers and running down to my elbow. I worried that it was the beginnings of cubital tunnel syndrome – one of the many repetitive stress injuries (RSI) you can get from working at a desk. The pain was intermittent for two months. I talked to medical professionals, iced it, and wore wrist braces.

Then one night, I was stretching out my shoulders and found an intense knot underneath my shoulder blade. The knot hurt like hell, but I focused on holding a side stretch until I felt the knot disappear. It must have been pressing on a nerve because my wrist and arm pain disappeared that evening and never came back.

Mobility Exercises

Ever since that close brush with an RSI, I began focusing on stretching daily. None of these websites are directed to writers, but they can definitely break you out of common aches and pains associated with sedentary work habits. Here are some of my favorite resources.

  • Wrist Mobility by Kit Laughlin: Why not take advice from a gymnastics coach? These people spend all day putting heavy loads on their arms. These wrist exercises are INTENSE. They help you train up to handstands and somersaults, so they should be more than enough for your writing exercises! Self-Myofascial Release (free eBook): This is a badass way to get a great massage at home, using a foam roller and a few tennis balls. The idea is to find a knot, and hold pressure on it until the knot goes away. While I’m sitting at the desk, I place a tennis ball between my back and chair and work out the worst knots. Once I stand up, my back feels so relaxed. Mobility WOD: Physical therapist, author, and CrossFit trainer Kelly Starrett is obsessed with using mobility to increase human potential. I got to cover his mobility workshop over at creativeLIVE and learned a ton about posture, breathing, and myofascial release.
  • Bodyweight Fitness Subreddit: Make sure to visit this on a full browser (not mobile) so that you can read the FAQ and starting tips. I realize that some of my aches and pains probably stem from weak muscles, not just mobility issues. This subreddit has some great home workouts that require no equipment – just your bodyweight! Perhaps one day I’ll be able to do a handstand…

Here are some benefits I’ve noticed since I started mobility training:

  • Being able to write comfortably for longer periods of time
  • Increased focus
  • Fewer aches and pains at the end of the day
  • Faster typing speeds
  • Aversion to poor writing postures at coffee shops, libraries, etc

Hope you find these mobility and strength tips useful as you write or work at a desk. Do you have additional tips for body maintenance? Shoot me a line and let me know!