Dealing with back pain caused by sitting too long

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

April 04, 2004|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

A new desk job has forced me to sit for long hours at a time. My back is starting to pay the price. What can I do to keep from having a sore back at the end of the day?

Who would have thought sitting still could be so stressful -- on the back, that is? Many of us have to tolerate eight or more hours of sitting in front of a computer. While teaching yoga might be a back-sufferer's dream job, not all of us are that lucky. Here are some tips desk-bound folks can use to ease back stress.

Don't:

* Cross your legs. It's bad for back alignment and circulation.

* Wear high heels. If you must wear them, take them off when you can.

* Lift heavy objects like boxed files.

Do:

* Get up and walk every hour, even if it's just a lap around your floor or a trip to the water cooler.

* Stretch. Do it during business calls.

* Keep a small pillow between your chair and lower back.

* Consider replacing your desk chair with an extra large fitness ball. Some people swear by them.

I've been told that pecans and walnuts, two of my favorite nuts, are high in fat. How fatty are they? Is there a better choice when it comes to nuts?

It's true that pecans and walnuts are high in fat (roughly 20 and 18 grams of fat per ounce, respectively) when compared with other popular nuts. But this is mostly unsaturated fat, an important part of a healthy diet.

While nuts like almonds and peanuts are less caloric and lower in fat (both have about 14-15 grams of fat per ounce), your favorites offer nutritional benefits different from their shelled siblings.

Pecans, for instance, are rich in minerals such as copper and zinc, while walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. So do keep pecans and walnuts in the mix. Just don't eat them by the fistful.

Where can I find a baby stroller that I can take jogging?

Jogging strollers are becoming increasingly popular among new moms and dads. So popular, in fact, that most major sporting goods stores carry a handful of models to choose from.

You can find brands such as Baby Jogger at Dick's Sporting Goods and the Sports Authority. Running stores such as Race Place in Ellicott City and Charm City Run in Timonium also carry them. For a well-made stroller, expect to pay $200 to $800.

Princeton Sports in Baltimore carries a brand called Chariot. According to store manager Brett Birkmire, the strollers are so versatile that, with extra accessories, the base model can be converted from a jogging stroller to a bike-towing stroller.

You can choose a single or double model, and options such as a wind guard are available. One attachment, Birkmire says, even allows you to tow the stroller behind you while you cross-country ski.

Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail fitness@baltsun.com.

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