Surfing and the "Net Effect"

Surfing and the "Net Effect"

Recently, through a series of less than usual events, I found myself working closely with a physical therapist. I was prescribed a number of back and shoulder strengthening exercises to combat the negative postural effects of sitting on my computer typing. This “prescription” got me thinking of ways that I could get the same postural benefits without a boring and repetitious exercise regimen.

As I was looking through the diagrams of recommended strength-building weight exercises and stretches, I realized something astounding: An easy-going surfing session hits all the major muscle groups I needed to work on—as do most of us—who spend hours hunched over a computer screen or with a phone pinned between our shoulder and ear.

Were you aware that a typical surf session will work the shoulders, lats, chest, upper and lower back, biceps, triceps, and abs (not to mention the cardiovascular benefits)?

Using a mouse or keypad for many hours can lead to repetitive stress injuries beyond carpel tunnel syndrome. Shortly after sitting down at a computer, most of us can be found with our shoulders rounded forward, and our necks craning to hold that oversized brain container (a.k.a., "the head") over a keyboard. This places tremendous strain on the neck and shoulders over time, which is no surprise. Yet what may be, is that it also shortens our chest muscles, causing a number of other muscular imbalances. (Most people with persistent back problems are unaware that a slightly irregular, seated posture, for extended periods of time, are major contributers to their ongoing discomfort.)

Hence, try thinking about it this way: You should spend ten minutes in the water for every hour you're glued to the desk. This way, you can stretching those lats, shoulder muscles and traps: Tell that to the boss! Exercising the above-mentioned muscles will combat those problems, according to renowned physical therapists worldwide.

In addition, there are many simple exercises you can perform at your desk to help alleviate these symptoms as well. (And they don't involve paddling or making a fool of yourself in the office.) You can read about them in my archived article, "Wellness Tips for the Desk Locked" ( http://www.bonhawaii.com/wellness-tips-desk-locked-keep-it-real-office-0 ).

When that 5:00 whistle blows, cease the net surfing and hit the ocean. Not only will you enjoy yourself, be absorbing negative ions (positive for the body!) and connecting with nature, but you'll rebalance those muscles and gain a fresh perspective for tomorrow!

Most people with persistent back problems are unaware that a slightly irregular, seated posture, for extended periods of time, are major contributors to their ongoing discomfort.