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…!