- Posted by Laura
- On 6th June 2018
- 0 Comments
One of the main challenges of life today is finding the balance between work and health. Many of us have to work long hours in jobs that don’t require us to move our bodies much at all.
Extended immobility results in a range of health issues, including muscle weakness, postural problems, unbalanced movement, increased risk of injury, weight gain and the development of aches and pains.
Desk work especially takes its toll on your spine and its surrounding muscles and ligaments, which is why many people with office jobs end up with back pain – so much so that it’s one of the leading causes of loss of productivity and time off work.
Here’s my tips for keeping your body healthy, even if you’re stuck at a desk for most of the day:
Consider ergonomics, but don’t rely on them
Adapting your work environment around your health rather than the other way around can reduce your risk of developing postural problems.
Small changes you can make include:
- Keep your monitor at eye level and at an angle that allows you to look at is straight on rather than too far up or down.
- Work at an adjustable desk which provides options for both sitting and standing positions.
- Use chairs with lumbar support, or attach a lumbar support if your chair doesn’t have it already.
- If you use multiple screens, position them in such a way that you’re not always turning your head in the same direction.
There are many more tips you can find online, and we can also provide assessments of your workplace so that we can suggest ergonomic improvements.
However, even the most ergonomically refined workplace isn’t going to save you from developing postural problems. Staying in any position too long, even a “healthy” one, is bad for your body.
In fact, I’m willing to bet that someone who works in an ergonomically awful workplace but moves around during the day is going to be better off than someone who sits still for hours in an office that ticks all the boxes.
All it takes is a few minutes of movement a day
The best way to keep your body healthy is to move. It’s what they’re made to do, but desk jobs don’t provide us with many opportunities to do so.
If you want to reduce back pain or your risk of developing it, you need to regularly move your spine through its full range of motion.
Set yourself a reminder to regularly do a quick minute of movement. You could stick post-its around your monitor or set an alarm on your phone, with the aim to be doing your exercises every hour or so.
And if you don’t want your colleagues to see, you can always visit your toilets for some privacy.
Your minute of movement
The required exercises aren’t difficult, all they need to do is keep everything moving to stop muscles and joints from becoming stiff.
A typical routine would look like this:
1. Keeping your shoulders still, rotate your head left and right, up and down, side to side and in a full circle.
2. Keeping your hips still, rotate your shoulders left and right, tilt them side to side, pull each of your arms across your chest to the the opposite side of your body and stretch your arms as far behind you as you can.
3. Keeping your hips in a neutral position, try to touch your toes while keeping your back straight then lean backwards as far as you can, rotating at the lower back.
This should all take under a minute and can easily be slotted into the busiest of work routines.
And if being short on time is still your excuse, a few minutes a day is a much better use of your time than taking days or even weeks off work because you’re in agonising back pain.
If you want a check up on your general health and fitness, along with a precise exercise prescription to resolve any weaknesses or imbalances we discover, get in touch with the clinic now at email@example.com