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Do You Look Like a Question Mark?
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Do you look like a question mark?

By Tiffany Ferrari - FITNESS ON THE MOVE

You are sitting at your desk working on the computer, reading, or talking on the phone. What does your body look like? Are you hunched over like a question mark? Shoulders hunched over, neck compressed, spine sunk down in your chair? This is where it all begins carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and backache, and the beginning of Kyphosis (overly curved upper spine, "hunchback.")

Right now you can make a difference in your body shape. Transform yourself from a question mark into an exclamation point. How you look will ultimately impact how you feel today, tomorrow and in the future.

It's a real challenge to remember to sit up straight, put both feet on the floor and press your back firmly into the back of your chair. But this is where the path toward improvement starts. One suggestion we have to help you remember to fix your posture is to set a timer. On your computer, watch, clock, or PDA set a timer to go off at least twice a day (the most important time is about 2-3 in the afternoon). When your alarm goes off take five minutes to fix your posture.

At the same time you fix your posture you can make yourself feel even better by stretching some of the areas that have become compressed. Here are some sample stretches to get you started, use these or others that you like but practice them regularly.


  • Hold each for at least a slow count of 8.
  • If applicable repeat the stretch on the other side.
  • Don't overdo - stop when you feel the stretch, if there is pinching or sharp pain release the stretch.
  • Take big deep breaths throughout the stretches.


  1. Neck: Squeeze your shoulders up toward your ears for a quick count of 4, release the shoulders, let the head drop toward the ear. Take a couple of deep breaths and close the eyes.
  2. Shoulders and upper back: Interlace the fingers, turn the palms away from you, and push your hands away. Use the back of the shoulders to push the hands out in front of you. After holding move the interlaced hands up over your head, continue to push them away. Finally clasp the hands behind the back, squeeze the shoulders together and hold.
  3. Back and spine: Sit up straight, starting from the stomach rotate the upper body to one side. Slowly rotate the shoulders and head to twist the same direction the stomach turned. This is a GENTLE twist of the spine. Be careful not to go too far. Stop when you start to feel a stretch.

We are providing three quick and easy stretches for the upper body to help you during your workday. Taking breaks from your normal routine can help with physical and mental well-being. Ideally you have a repertoire of fitness programs including cardiovascular, muscle strengthening and stretching to keep your body well balanced.

9450 Mira Mesa Blvd., PMB 617, San Diego, CA 92126
Phone (858) 566-7951 - Fax (858) 566-3581