As life changes for us all and we adjust to new working environments, especially the home office, it is important to look after your health and your body. In particular, this includes your muscles and posture. Here are 3 simple things you can do to help maintain good posture and avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort.
If you are being treated for any pre-existing injuries or areas of weakness, please check with your health provider before following these steps, other than that these suggestions are beneficial for us all.
- Ergonomics relates to how your working environment fits you. If you are working from home be sure to:
- find the best chair for your body to sit comfortably for a period of time.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor. Cushions can help to add height to your chair or lumbar support to a chair intended for a different purpose. Books or stools can also be helpful under your feet to ensure they sit flat.
- Ensure your screen, keyboard or work project (or home craft or hobby) are on a table where your arms can rest comfortably without raising your shoulders or having your head look up or down.
- You can sit your project, screen or keyboard on books or a box to help achieve this correct height.
- Breaks are important at home too. Remember to take that break, walk around the room, top up your water bottle or get some fresh air outside.
- Stretching – Yes, we remind you of this every time you get a Remedial Massage.
Although sitting for long periods or standing for long periods may not feel you are putting much strain onto your muscles, you are. The muscles that support you sitting or upright are in constant contraction for that time, so get up and travel around the room as often as you can. Two of the most common areas that cause pain and discomfort by becoming ‘tight’ are shoulders and lower back.
Every hour or two stretch your arms up high above your head, take a deep breath, and bring them down to the sides, pulling your shoulders back and down while you do. This is also good to do standing against a wall. Take another deep breath and roll your shoulders back and down, relax them 10% and hold them in this position while you take another deep breath. This is re-setting your posture.
If you are sitting for long periods, take regular breaks to stand AND walk around the room. This changes the action the muscles are required to do and gets them moving like they are designed to. If you are standing a lot, stretch by taking a deep breath and as you exhale gently bend down to touch your toes (you don’t have to reach them). When you come back up, don’t rush, and if you need to, use a chair or table to help you get up. If you can, lie flat on your back for a couple of minutes, enjoy, it isn’t often you have permission to lie on your bed whilst working!
Remember; these 3 tips are important regardless of your working environment, playing with your kids, or even sitting or lying at home. This is a good opportunity to begin good habits that you can continue on in your daily life. Always remember to know your body, if any of these suggestions seem difficult or if you have an injury or illness, check with your health care provider whether you should do them or a modified version.
The aim is to keep your body moving, and remember, we are always here to help you achieve and maintain your optimal health, always!