I’m not any sort of doctor, or trainer but I can tell you that my lower back, wrist, shoulder and neck are much better, much stronger and much better functioning than they were a couple of years ago. I’m not a gym junkie either, I spend a maximum of 4 hours a week on training and it’s worth every moment. I partake in Crossfit, but there are tons of other options, yoga, martial arts, Olympic lifting, and the list goes on. I like the combination of strength and cardio that Crossfit provides.
As photographers we are always lopsided. Shoulder bags slung over one side, lifting heavy cases, straps one either side of our necks. It’s a recipe for screwed up, crocked, unhappy backs, necks, arms, and wrists. There is a whole crop of late career photographers nursing arthritic and damaged wrists from decades of holding big heavy camera bodies with even bigger and heavier lenses on them. As you all know holding a camera is not at all a natural position. So let’s start off with something that requires no gym membership, no fancy equipment and it could be handy if you run out of food.
The setup is this: buy or find a 5 gallon bucket (get one with a lid), and buy a 15 pound bag of rice. Here’s the how-to part everyone likes. Open the bag of rice and pour it into the bucket. Your home gym for wrist and hand is complete. Now for the training part. Wash your hands, dry them and then shove them into the bucket of rice. The rice feels good but it also creates enough resistance to start strengthening your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your wrist and hands. Rotate in circles, clockwise, counterclockwise, open and close your hand and get creative with the motions. Soon your grip strength and wrist flexibility will be the envy of everyone in your neighborhood.
Yeah, I know you can’t take a 5 gallon bucket of rice on a plane to your next assignment but you can leave it in your studio or next to your desk and plunge your paw into it when your carpal tunnel syndrome is rearing its ugly head from too many hours on the keyboard. It’s small step but a step in the right direction. We all want to keep shooting into our 90s but we need to have healthy solid functioning bodies so do a little bit now to keep those parts working in to your 100s. Being stronger and having less pain will also keep you thinking about the creative side of our work and not the aches and pain side of it.
If you’ve got some DIY ideas that might help us stay healthy and strong so we can keep working drop a comment down below and maybe we can start a recurring segment.
Joe Klementovich lives a stones throw away from Mount Washington in North Conway, New Hampshire. He works as a freelance photographer and videographer for a wide range of commercial clients and publications from the New York Times to Patagonia. Ideally working in the mountains, rivers and forests of the world.
Well stated...I started looking after that 7 years ago as part of my "job"...at least an hour in the gym every other day.
More than likely the single best exercise you could possibly do for yourself would be something called face pulls. I have these https://www.amazon.com/UPOWEX-Resistance-Bands-Set-Attachment/dp/B078JFSN9Z Just grab a simple set of resistance bands that include a "door anchor attachment" (it's a temporary attachment and does not damage your door, it's a 1 inch piece of plastic pipe with rubber around it that has a nylon strap running through it). Then, watch this video to learn how to do them: https://youtu.be/JObYtU7Y7ag
Why do this? You do it because all day everyday most of us are slouched forward. It not only affects our shoulders but it also affects our head and neck positioning. Look at most older people and you'll see that most of them are in a position where their shoulders are hunched forward and their chin is sticking out in front of their body and leading them wherever they go. This quite often is a result of their shoulder and back weakness that has been developed over time from poor alignment. The worst part of this is that this position exacerbates the problem and can easily lead to pinched nerves. Ironically, the old people of today never had access to handheld devices that they looked down at all day long and most didn't sit at a desk much of the day which is the other main culprit. You do face pulls to counteract all of this. Photographers are even worse than the general population because in addition to sitting at a desk for hours upon hours editing pictures and spending time looking at handheld devices with our faces pointing downward, many of us hang our cameras from our necks and we also tend to roll our shoulders forward and push our face forward to take a picture while looking through the viewfinder. All of the above is written by someone who has a pinched nerve on the right side and tingling and numbness in his right hand from poor genetics, poor posture, and photography. All at the ripe old age of 40. Face pulls and other physical therapy plus an awesome chiropractor made the tingling down my right arm and into my thumb and fingers stop.
Oh, I'll need that 500mm f/4 lens to keep me fit, yessiree. It's for my health, so it's really a bargain. ;-)
Surely anyone doing this job is getting a lot more daily exercise than a 9to5 deskjockey? My Apple Watch often warns me to back it off a bit as it loses count of all the lugging about I do.
I'm 62 now, with arthritis in my hands, and issues with other joints as well. I like the bucket of rice idea. When I first searched for a camera bag, I knew that wanted it to hold 2 bodies, 4-5 lenses, a small laptop, and misc. items. I also knew that I didn't want it hanging off one shoulder, and didn't want to have to take it off (like a backpack) in order to access my gear. The Kata 3N1 (now Manfrotto) fit all my requirements. I couldn't be happier.
Currently recovering from spinal fusion and I have arthritis in my right knee at 34. Definitely take care of your body because once things start going wrong, it easily becomes one thing after the other as other parts of your body have to compensate.
Fusion buddies! Got my bottom two fused about 8 years ago. If I had known when I was younger what I know now I would have taken such better care of my back. When that goes it pretty much alters all aspects of your life.
24 Inch Diameter Pvc Pipe
Buy yeah... my back problems started at 18 and I really wish I had taken better care of myself back then. Perhaps this was inevitable, but at very least I think that taking better care of myself could have delayed it by a few years if not a few decades.
Plastic Injection Molding, Wholesale Plastic Injection Molding - Hong Cheng Long,https://www.xmhclsl.com/