Working From Home? These Posture Tips Will Help
Stay healthy. Stay home. We’re all trying to follow this advice in these days of Coronavirus self-quarantine. We’re feeling pretty cooped up, but we’re getting through it. But for those of us lucky enough to have transitioned into a work-from-home situation, we’ve had a whole new set of problems. We’ve had to scramble to set up our new offices with the right equipment, furnishings, connections, privacy, and freedom from distractions. And now that we’ve spent a month locked inside this tiny work bubble within our slightly larger quarantine bubble, there’s something else bothering us: our necks hurt. Our shoulders are cramping. Our heads are pounding.
Is it COVID-19? No, it’s just bad posture.
In our scramble to set up our new workspaces, we’ve forgotten about ergonomics. And in our extended confinement within these tiny cells, we’ve given up on stretching and exercise.
It’s no wonder we’ve turned into knotted balls of weak, slouching muscle and brittle bones.
Fix Your Posture with These Simple Tips
We’ve talked before about fixing posture problems. There are two main issues. The first is that we’re holding the same uncomfortable body positions for far too long. The second is physical weakness and fragility because our muscles are no longer properly supporting our bones. And the fixes are simple:
- Adjust the Environment. If we’re going to spend the day staring at a computer screen, we need a decent chair to sit in and it needs to be properly oriented to our desk. The screen needs to be at an appropriate height, and the keyboard and mouse need to be located comfortably relative to our arm position. Check out the graphic below for guidelines:
- Exercise. Strong muscles support the body, making it easier to sit comfortably for long periods of time without feeling the need to slouch. Unfortunately, sitting for long periods of time is a great way to weaken those muscles. So we need to make a conscious effort to work some strength training into our day. And we don’t even need to leave the office to do it! Posture and conditioning equipment such as resistance bands take up very little space and are as effective as bulky weight sets.
- Move and Stretch. Maybe you’ve taken off your Apple Watch because time no longer matters. Well, those hourly reminders to stand up are really important for healthy posture. Take the opportunity to raise your arms and stretch, turn your head, and rotate your torso. If you don’t have a watch, set a timer or alarms on your computer or phone to go off every hour. And while you’re up, you might as well do a few jumping jacks, push ups, crunches or burpees or run a few laps around the room as you scream at the top of your lungs. No one will ever know.
Taking care of your posture is important all the time, but especially while we are all working at home. Take care of yourself and your body!