After Spending All Day Sitting in Front of a Computer, Dancing Helps Me Truly Unwind

Growing up, I never gave much thought to how much sitting I did in my life. For years and years in school, I would sit in a compact little desk for most of my day. Once I got to college, not much changed — I often found myself hunched over in a desk. And now, as a 24-year-old who works primarily from home, I've met my biggest challenge yet: sitting in front of a computer screen all day. As days, weeks, and months have gone by, sitting behind a screen has started to take its toll.

Because I'm quite young, I hadn't previously considered just how much sitting in front of a computer screen might affect my health and well-being. I mean, I knew I spent a lot of time hunched over, staring at a computer screen every. single. day. And it's possible I'm starting to notice aches and pains in my neck and back — but that's just normal, right? On one hand, yes, it is normal. Sitting down often, especially in front of a computer screen, is not good for your body, as studies have shown. And these effects do not take long to set in — I noticed them soon after starting to work from home. I knew I wasn't doing myself any favors, so I wanted to find an outlet to help me move my body that I actually enjoyed. Much to my surprise, the solution has been something I'd never previously considered — dancing!

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a professional dancer, and I'm certainly not the most graceful person in the room. I took a dance class as a kid, and though I never really got much farther than that, I've always really loved moving my body to music. There's something remarkably freeing and open about dancing. Over the past few months, I've really gotten into it as a form of exercise. I find workouts to be most rewarding when I actually like what I'm doing, and dancing is one of the few activities that fits the bill. Most importantly for me, dancing incorporates a lot of flexibility — which necessitates stretching, and always feels good after sitting for long periods of time. Not only does dancing alleviate stress, but it also helps activate my body that's otherwise stuck at a desk all day.

When I talk about dancing, I'm referring to it in its most basic form. I put on music and just sort of move to the beat, however feels right in the moment. I don't follow routines or videos, though I have gotten into some more recently. I've found that, for me, simply putting on my favorite music and moving in a way that feels natural works best and is the most fun. I was a bit shy at first, even though I was dancing by myself. No one was watching, but it still felt a bit weird to really get into the music and movement. But I found the more I did it, the easier it became to completely let go. Now, I can unabashedly jam out alone — and it feels really, really good. Whether for five minutes or a whole hour, I always feel reinvigorated after. Because not only does it help me move my body, but it helps me clear my mind and relax, too. And after many tedious hours staring at a computer screen, it's nice to know that I have a healthy outlet to fall back on.

Since the pandemic has begun, I'm spending even more time at home than ever before. Consequently, I've had to get creative with fitness and find new (and exciting!) ways to incorporate it into my routine. I don't always find it easy to get motivated or excited about working out, especially when I feel so stagnant for most of my day. I'm grateful to have found a means of loosening up, moving my body, and having fun all at the same time. So, if you're in the same boat as me, I highly recommend clearing some space in your room, putting on your favorite song, and truly dance like no one is watching!