Whether you’re an avid office worker or Coronavirus has forced you to work from home and now that might be permanent? Does your 9-5 leave you with no time for structured exercise? Since Coronavirus started, we have seen an increase in people experiencing neck pain, lower back pain, stiffness and general aches and pains that can often be driven from sitting at your desk all day. Ever more, working from home has resulted in people skipping breaks, moving less or working longer hours as the temptation to start early and finish late becomes too much.
Our 10 Top Tips
- Take your full lunch break and get away from your desk, preferably even the building you’re in. This is great not only physically but also for our mental health to take a break and think about something else other than work!
- Go for a walk or take on some light exercise. Maybe even pick up a water bottle or some light weights and do a few bicep curls or squats! Moving regularly is like brushing your teeth! It is a necessity and helps in maintaining healthy joints.
- Keep your office or home well lit and at the right temperature. Don’t waste your body’s energy on trying to stay warm. If your office is well lit this will also increase your mood but also stop you from squinting and leaning into the screen so much!
- Don’t wedge your phone between your ear and shoulder. Try using handsfree, whether this is in the form of a headset or on speaker.
- Make sure the ergonomics are right for YOU. Whether this is because you’re working from home on a makeshift desk, sitting on the sofa or in the office where several people sit in the same space as you in the week. Take the time before you start working for the day that everything is at the right height and position for you or even better, use a standing desk! To know how…… See the picture below.
6. Vary your tasks throughout the day to strike a balance between sitting, standing and moving around to give your body a range of postures.
7. Be strict with taking microbreaks from your computer. Have smaller glasses of water so you have to get up regularly to refill or set an alarm every hour to remind yourself to move. Your body will thank you later for it!
8. You are what you eat! Make sure you are eating enough healthy foods and drinking enough water. 60% of the human body is made up of water and the average daily intake of water is recommended between 2-3 litres a day! It is vital in keeping the joints healthy and cushioned, along with maintaining spinal and disc health. So maybe swap that cup of coffee for a glass of water instead.
9. Try getting into a regular exercise routine. This sometimes is the most difficult especially when life can get hectic. However, if you’ve stopped working in the office and you are now working from home you have probably cut down your physical exercise dramatically at no fault of your own. You may no longer be going to the gym where your office was, no longer walking to the train station or bus stop or even the distance to the toilets may now be reduced and you’ve probably noticed your step count reduce. Each week adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination. This does sound like a lot but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. And remember, ‘You can’t go wrong with getting strong’.
10. And finally, make sure you’re getting some of that talk time in with your colleagues or work friends especially if you’re working from home. It is really important to keep yourself in the loop and not isolate yourself. Having a quick conversation about something other than work can really boost those ‘feel good’ hormones. Remember, someone else is probably feeling the same especially with the recent changes over the last few years.
If you feel you need any advice on ergonomics or you’re experiencing pain and stiffness which you feel is driven by your posture or by work then get in touch. If you wish to book a physiotherapy appointment why not contact our team on: 01276 37670 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also offer FREE 15-minute discovery calls where one of our physiotherapists can call you to discuss your problem and ascertain whether you would benefit from physiotherapy. You can book online here or give us a call.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you for reading.
Jessica Reed (BSc, SRP, MCSP, AACP)
Specialist MSK Physiotherapist