By Cheri Smith | Staff Writer

As an active student, have you ever wondered why you’re experiencing back or neck pain? I couldn’t understand this when I was in my early 20s. Being a student is a sedentary lifestyle, meaning we are usually sitting down on our bottoms most of the day. Being in this condition could lead to chronic pain and physical injury in the long run. Living in the Millennial/Generation X era, we’re constantly on our phones or computers for more than four hours, which creates bad habits for ourselves.

Once I became a certified fitness trainer, I finally understood the errors I needed to correct and take action.


                Laptop stand

Causes, Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Whether you’re sitting down while studying on your desk, in the car on a road trip, or on your couch playing video games for over two hours, you’ll start to feel an intense pain in your lower back or neck, which is located in your spine region. Without any care or practice with these pains, our bodies will gradually become weaker and create poor postures. We must practice relieving and strengthening those areas in our bodies immediately.

The two most common chronic pains from a sedentary lifestyle is back pain (lower crossed syndrome) from constantly sitting down and neck pain (upper crossed syndrome) from tilting our heads toward our electronics.

Fitness Goals and Self Love
For myself, while learning about fitness, it dawned on me that though I was athletic most of my life, I was missing out on all these little details such as how to breathe, how to stabilize my body positions, or how to target my muscles correctly. However, knowing these details is important to achieving good, physical health.

Self love is knowing you are worthy and by changing your old habits. Let’s quit being lazy and start changing our study environment. Pile books or yoga blocks for a laptop stand so we can stand up straight or sit down comfortably on a balance ball while studying. These alternatives prevent poor posture and pain.

Stretch shoulder and lower back

Let’s Get Flexible
“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” so plan to win by revamping your workout wardrobe, play your favourite music, and move your body. During our stay-at-home orders, it’s so easy to become lazy. Let’s visualize our best selves and be a goal digger. One way to start is by making a visual board and having a planner to be accountable for your goals. What helps me the most is having a friend who has similar goals to mine. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Get your homies and plan goals together.

Starting from the ground up, let’s relieve tightness from our bodies.

Get yourself a yoga mat or a clean spot on the floor where you can move. I usually like to be in front of a mirror just so I’m aware  that I’m positioning my body correctly while doing yoga poses. If yoga is too advanced, get yourself a foam roller. Two major areas to focus on is your neck and back.

  1.             Foam Roll

    Push your chin toward the neck against wall for 1 minute.
  2. Use hands to lightly push down on shoulder and head on opposite directions for 1 minute.
  3. One arm over head and arm stretched underneath on the ground for 1 minute.

No Pain, No Gain
Building muscle prevents us from having brittle bones and suffering from pain. The most prominent muscle is our core because it’s located in the center of our body. It also improves your posture and aligns your spine, which creates a strong foundation for a healthy body. A few examples is a wall sit, plank, and a squat. Challenge the body by doing 3 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise.

  1.                         Wall Sit

    Wall Sit: Lean against the wall positioned as if you’re sitting on a chair. Engage your core and breathe slowly as you hold of the dumbbell in front of you. This will work both arms and core.
  2. Plank: Lay on the floor with the arms in front and knees extended. Keep your core and butt engaged while breathing. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Squat: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your core tucked in while shoulders are rounded back. Then, squat yourself down as if you’re seated on a chair and extend from your knees and squeeze your butt.

You Are What You Eat
Have you ever heard the phrase, you are what you eat? Sure enough, your attitude reflects what you put into your body. Choosing to eat healthy, you become more positive and guiltless. Start to throw out all the unhealthy food from your house and make healthy recipes. My go-to recipes are cauliflower pizza and toasted brussel sprouts.

Tip: Prep your meals ahead of time and if the food is too expensive, shop at Don Quiote where they have discounts on the fruits and veggies.