Photo Credit – Unsplash
With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, companies were forced to continue their business operations remotely. More flexible working arrangements saw employees working from home, prioritising both staff and customer health and safety.
Because of this, office sitting time has doubled, with around half of UK workers spending almost the entirety of a working day seated. This increasingly sedentary nature of work nowadays is more likely to increase the risk of acquiring major health problems, like cardiovascular diseases, metabolic and musculoskeletal disorders, and even cognitive impairment.
To avoid those dangers and improve your overall well-being, how can you keep yourself moving even when you are working from home?
Develop a regular schedule.
It is easy to get lost in time while working in this current situation, as the boundaries between work and home have been blurred. However, you must consider creating a regular schedule so you can structure your day. Set a consistent wake-up time, and schedule breaks in between your working hours. You can include five- to ten-minute walks during your breaks, so you do not reach the end of the day realizing you have not left your desk at all.
If you find it difficult to schedule moving around, try at least one non-video conference call while taking a walk or standing. After all, prolonged standing also burns more calories than just sitting. That will not only help you feel good, but also think and concentrate better!
Adjust your workspace.
Experts recommend standing or moving around for at least two hours during a working day. If working while moving is not possible, you can adjust your workspace. Do not place everything that you need in front of you to avoid sitting down for long periods of time. You can put a glass of water in another room or your phone farther away, so you can move more frequently.
If you have the resources, you can also invest in a sit-stand desk that lets you work while standing up at different times of the day. These work well with standing desk mats, which this article points out can be active or flat. Active desk mats have contours and edges that allow you to stretch your calves and toes, and might even come as a balance board that encourages small, constant movements. Whichever adjustments you make, be sure that you are regularly moving while still working at your best.
Try out online classes.
With gyms closed, online movement classes can be a convenient alternative to get your body moving. There are a lot of options, depending on the goal you want to achieve, like enhancing posture, gaining flexibility, or preventing injuries.
In most cases, you just have to pay monthly to access resources, schedules, and health-related content. You can then do your sessions at your own time. But if you thrive more around others, then you can join classes where a teacher leads the session in real time. If you are looking for suggestions, this list can get you started!
You might still be getting used to working remotely, and as such, the healthy habits you had developed before, like exercising before or after work, might have disappeared. But being stuck at home does not mean that you cannot make new rituals, especially concerning your well-being. When working from home, make sure that your health is always your priority, especially in these trying times.
Piece specially contributed to themovementblog.co.uk
Contributed by: JBroadwaters
Are you an office worker, freelancer, self-employed or ‘digital nomad’? This one’s for those who tend to sit for long periods at a time on a laptop, desktop computer, and phone. Let’s talk about finding good posture while on our gadgets.
I spend a lot of time blogging and looking for freelance work online, so I can definitely relate. Here’s some useful tips to help us sit up, stand up, move and, most importantly, work more efficiently.
Try to Sit on the Floor
Sitting on the floor allows the body to readjust and be in its natural form. To adjust the laptop height, use a few pillows. You can also sit on a pillow or put one behind your back. Folding the legs (as pictured above) can help release the hips and keep the knees healthy. If you’re leaning against a sofa, during break you can lean back, creating an arch in the spine.
Maintain the Head Over the Shoulders
The skull is one the heaviest points on the body. When the skull is no longer supported by your spine, it creates stress and impact on the neck. Forward head posture and rounded shoulders are one of the most common postural deviations, but can be avoided when repositioning the head to balance on top of the skull. To allow the head to be supported by the spine, change the height of the computer screen to eye level. Just prop a few books under the laptop.
Stand Up Correctly
Something as simple as standing up is a great way to give the hips and legs a break from compression. However, standing upright can be tricky. First, readjust the height of your computer screen to ensure proper head-spine alignment. Make sure your feet are comfortable with or without shoes. However, don’t stand too long, it’s best to alternate between sitting and standing every 1-2 hours. This helps the body to keep moving.
Mobilize the Hips
Lie down on your stomach, and bring yourself upward with your hands by the shoulders so that the hips are off the floor, like in Upward-Facing Dog Position. Relax the ribcage downward and bring the belly button inward to support the lower back. This position can help to recover the body from a constant frontal, folded position. If you would like to stretch more, come into a Lunge Position. Send the tailbone toward the floor and gentle engage the abdomen.
Treat yourself with a few minutes of self-massage starting with the the large jaw muscles then work your way around the muscles around base of the neck as well as the bones of the face.
Especially after typing/working for hours on end, the hands often get left out. Clasp your hands together and straight your arms forward with the palms facing outward. Next, bring the clasped hands together and roll the wrists around, alternating each way.
The eyes becomes fatigued when they become dry. The eyes become dry when there isn’t enough blinking happening. When we stare at a backlit screen for long periods time we often don’t blink enough, causing dry eye and blurriness. It may also be useful to make the text larger.
Or partially. Try a gentle spinal flexion roll down from the standing position is easy yet effective. Allowing the torso to be upside down releases tension from weight we carry due to gravity. Begin standing in a neutral, upright position. Slowly roll down, knees slightly bent. It’s OK if the hands don’t touch. Reverse the direction, with the chin into the chest until fully standing.
Incorporating these intermittent sitting, standing, and movement strategies every 20-30 minutes can help you work more efficiently, longer, and with more ease. Remember to take real breaks.
Set a timer if needed. Perhaps encourage your colleagues around you to do the same. We only have one body, let’s take care of it.
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