Most clients come to me because they have severe shoulder, upper neck, and lower back pain – tell tale signs of sitting and staring at a screen all day. To give you the short version, I often tell them to get up and move. Go for a walk at lunch, or to the gym or to yoga at lunch if the weather isn’t at its best. Maybe even move their computer monitor to a more appropriate height OR take the splurge for a standing desk.
Then I was standing in an office building gym watching a client on the treadmill and realized something – their neck was at the same angle as it is at their desk. Why? Because the screens on treadmills and bikes are often at the same, miserable angle as they are when looking at a computer monitor.
I’m all about distracting people when they’re working out – sometimes it’s the only way to actually get people moving. “What are your hopes and dreams?” I might ask – just kidding. Way too intense while doing jumping jacks. I might ask that while holding space for yoga students during a meditation, though.
Anyway, if watching a movie is what it takes to get you to walk or ride a bike, do it. But check how your neck it situated. If you’re looking up or down, there’s a problem. Especially because most of us don’t wear our glasses when we exercise, we’re more likely to strain our necks trying to see what’s on TV. This is super counterproductive if we’re trying to negate the effects of staring at a computer all day.
If you’re out there shopping for a gym membership, here are a few tips:
Look for a cardio room with a bank of TVs directly in front of you, rather than attached to the machine. It will keep your neck in a neutral position AND make the gym experience a more collective one.
Some gyms have theaters (yes, you read that right) with a movie schedule. Time your workouts and get in there!
*** As I’ve said, distraction is a key player in cardio – most of these exercises don’t require us to pay 100% attention to form. A TV in a weight room is a no-no for me. Form is a key player when weight lifting or doing most other forms of exercise, and TVs are too much of a distraction. I as a trainer usually turn them off when working with clients because I become distracted too, which is double not safe…