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Working From Home

May 10, 2021

Has hunching over your work laptop got you feeling achy? Or perhaps the cold winter nights  are leading you to snuggle up and watch the TV more often? Here are some top tips to  release some tension and stay healthy over the winter months.

Many of us have found ourselves working from home with furniture that is not always  supportive for all day use. Looking at a computer that is too low can cause us to spend most  of the day looking down, leading to rounded and raised shoulders, tight Pectorals and Upper  back muscles. Here are some ways to prevent and treat the zoom hunch as we try and  connect through our screens!

Preventative Actions: 

1. It is important when working from home to ensure that your chair is the correct height  and is providing you with the support that you need day to day. Adjust your chair so that  your feet can be flat on the floor, with knees in line (or slightly lower) than your hips.

2. If working using a computer or laptop, ensure that your keyboard is directly in front of  you and that the screen is just above eyeline. (This will help avoid hunching over your laptop and causing tension through the upper back and chest).

3. Ensure that you are taking regular breaks from the screen and seated position. This will  allow not only your eyes to rest from looking at a screen, but also encourages blood flow  through movement which will keep you feeling energised and more able to focus when  returning to your desk. When in the office, you might usually get up to chat to others or go  and make a cup of coffee. Your body and mind need these breaks even if you are working  from home!

4. Try to ensure that you are exercising regularly and keeping your core engaged. A strong  core will support the spine in the seated position and allow the body to maintain correct  posture, leading to less muscle tension elsewhere in the body!

It is worth mentioning that no one has correct posture all the time. Just try to remind  yourself once an hour and slowly build in these suggestions so that they can become habits.  It’s all about finding your correct posture for a sustainable and healthy way of working  rather than a textbook ideal!

Stretch: 

Our muscles have a range of functions such as: supporting the skeleton to allow movement,  providing stability to our joints, keeping us warm and many more! During the winter  months, we can often find our shoulders up by our ears from the cold or be hunched over  our work desks. In order to keep our muscles healthy, we need to look after them! One of  the ways we can do this is by stretching!

1. Trapezius stretch:

We often forget that our heads are heavy and our neck  and surrounding muscles (like Trapezius) are working very hard all day. If you feel like your shoulders are always creeping up towards your ears, then this one’s for you! Standing with parallel feet, reach one arm out to the side. Then flex the hand, whilst aiming to keep your shoulder relaxed and side tilt your head away from the lifted arm. You should feel this through your upper shoulders, neck and sometimes into the upper arm.

2. Pectoralis stretch:

When working in front of our bodies all day, our Pectoral muscles are in constant action, leading to tension in these areas. Find a doorway and create a 90 degree bend in the elbow. Then whilst keeping your hips square in a small lunge, allow your torso to move forwards. You should feel a stretch along the front of your chest.

3. Lower back twist:

When sitting down for a large part of the day, our lower back can become tight and compressed. This stretch will also allow the front surface of the body to open and allow a torso twist. Aim to keep knees and ankles together and gently let them fall to one side. Open out the arms to the side and allow the head to gently twist in the opposite direction for some extra stretch.

 

4. Hip Flexor stretch:

When sitting down, our hips are in constant flexion, which can leading to our hip flexors being very tight. In this stretch, aim to have the front knee at 90 degrees and keep your hips square. You can lower your pelvis down for a deeper stretch.

Massage:  

The most common problem areas I see as a Sports Massage Therapist are upper back, neck  and chest. Our whole lives are built in front of us (writing, phones, laptop typing, picking up  children etc) and we need to ensure that we counter this with proper physical care to create  balance in the body. One of the best ways to support our muscles is with massage. Massage  reduces muscle tension, increases circulation and reduces stress. Sports Massage is able to  target specific problem areas with advanced techniques to not only maintain your healthy  body but also support you through injuries and recovery.

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