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Working from home – Desk set up and looking after your body!

Posted by admin on April 13, 2020
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With so many people now working from home, what can we all do to take care of our bodies at this time?

Desk Set Up – Whether in the office or at home this is always important, but not always set up ideally! Let’s look at each component:

  • Desk – Where possible work from a desk or dining table, so you can get things set up at about the right height. Ideally your elbows should be at 90 degrees or more, when they rest on the table.  Don’t work from a coffee table, while sitting on the sofa – your back, neck and hips will not love this!
  • Seat – If you don’t have an adjustable office chair, then a proper dining chair would be better than a soft low chair.  Use a cushion or rolled up towel placed at the small of your back, so you feel supported. You want hips and knees to be roughly 90 degrees so you may need a cushion to sit on if you are too low. Feet flat on the floor is best for the alignment of your joints.  Avoid crossed legs or sitting on one foot!
  • Computer – If you are working on a desktop, set it so the top of the screen is level or slightly lower than your eyes.  The same should apply to a laptop, therefore you will need to raise it up off the table! You can improvise with blocks of wood or books if you don’t have a laptop stand (as pictured), just be aware of the machine getting overheated! You’ll need a separate keyboard and mouse.  I highly recommend this set up when using a laptop long term.  The full-sized keyboard gives your arms, hands and wrists more space, so you are far less likely to experience overuse issues.
  • Variation – Try working standing up with the laptop set up on a breakfast bar or sideboard.  Try sitting on different seats, a stool for short times or even an exercise ball.

Taking Care of your Body:

  • Take a Break – Crucial whether at home or in the office, regularly get up, walk around, stretch, peg the washing on the line, dance around the kitchen while the kettle boils, whatever you like.  This really will help your body remain mobile during the workday.  Set a 30min timer or obey your watch when it tells you to move.
  • Keep Hydrated – ever important for body and mind, have water or fruit teas on hand. Try to avoid chain drinking coffee and tea!
  • Exercise – try to build exercise into your workday, maybe starting the day with a run or walk and finishing it with an online exercise class or yoga.  This will help keep the blood flowing, muscles warm and supple and your mood elevated.  You’ll probably find you have more energy than you expect as you’re not commuting to the office and back!
  • Stretch – The main areas to focus on are the neck, chest and arms, upper and lower back, quads and hip flexors. These are the areas which will become short and tight during the seated posture.  Yoga can be helpful for addressing these areas and there are many local instructors running online classes.

Part Two of this blog will cover how to stretch and self-treat these areas and is coming very soon…!

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How to stay well & injury free while social distancing or self isolating!

Posted by admin on March 22, 2020
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A few tips on how to take care of your body during these difficult times…

Happy Mind = Happy Body:

These two are so linked.  Calm the mind down and the body relaxes too.  The less muscular tension and the better your mental focus the less likely you are to injure yourself. If you’ve never tried meditation before perhaps take this opportunity to give it a go. I love Headspace, but there are other apps, such as Calm, Buddhify and Breethe.  Five or ten minutes a day and you may find something which will help you manage your stress long term.

Warm Up:

This one’s always a good idea.  Start with a walk and gradually increase before running.  If your staying home can you pace the corridors, march up and down the stairs several times, do step ups, dance like no-one is watching! Whatever it takes to raise your heard rate, warm your muscles and increase blood flow.  Some movement of the joints and gentle stretches are good to.

Choose Appropriate Activity – or don’t run before you can walk!:

Insanity workouts and Ashtanga Yoga are not for everyone.  Ideally start with an activity you are familiar with. Or if you’re trying something new find a beginner’s version – remember there’ll be no judgement within your own home, so it’s best to start too easy and build up.  And don’t forget walking has proven health benefits, so don’t discount it.

Gradually Increase Exercise:

If you’ve not donned those running trainers for an age, please don’t head out and run ten miles!  Your body will not like it!  A sensible rule is to build by no more than 10% duration each session.  Or if you are new to running check out the Couch to 5k app.

Have Rest Days:

Even if you are stuck indoors, taking the odd easier day will prevent you from overloading your body, especially if you are doing an exercise type which you are not used to.  Above all listen to your body!

Stretch:

How many of you have said the words ‘I don’t have time for stretching’!  Well, now you probably do!  Loads of resources online, but if you’re a beginner check out JoeTherapy on YouTube.  He also shows you how to use a foam roller.  If you fancy trying yoga, check out Yoga with Adriene or the Runners World yoga centre – both excellent.

Strength & Conditioning:

Again, If I’ve asked you how you got on with your strengthening exercises and you’ve answered with an awkward grimace or ‘I have to be honest I’ve not done them’!  Then now could be your chance.  Dig out your homecare email from me, your physio, osteo or personal trainer and go for it!  Or contact me if you’d like me to send you some suggestions.

Eat Well:

Eating well will make so much difference to your mood and motivation levels. A balanced diet of protein, fats, carbohydrates and a rainbow of coloured fruit and veg, will improve your bodies ability to repair and recover after exercise.  Perhaps make a food plan to help keep you from mindlessly munching!

Drink Well:

I’m talking water and not booze and caffeine – sorry!  Although a little of these is fine (and I think we all need some right now! ), keeping hydrated will help all the systems in your body to function well.  Your temperature, kidney function, circulation, blood pressure, digestion, joint lubrication and skin condition are all effected by lack of water.

Sleep Lots:

Surely one of the most neglected factors.  Our busy lifestyles often don’t allow for a good nights sleep.  Our bodies do so much repairing while we sleep, so getting enough will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for another days activities.

If you do get an injury or niggle, get in touch and I will try to help.  Stay tuned for tips on self-treatment coming soon…!

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