At our makeshift home workstations, pains and aches abound. These easy tips and two minute exercises will alleviate soreness and improve your posture.
Before March of 2020, we might have gotten strange looks from colleagues if we bent over in a downward dog position in the center of our office, in work casual attire. However now, at home inside our athleisure, there is absolutely no excuse for not moving, stretching or doing simple exercises during the day. These types of activities will keep working at home from literally learning to be a pain in the neck, back and hips.
I’ve had an ergonomic office at home with a standing desk which brilliant chair for a long time, but during quarantine, I’ve let my hubby dominate my office while I work downstairs and supervise our children. When lockdown began, I used residence over our kitchen counter, at the dining area table and sometimes on the couch inside our living room, and quickly developed a nagging pain in my own hip. It has sidelined me from running and riding my bike outdoors or doing Peloton as much as I’d like. I realized that I was hunching over a significant amount of (I rarely hunch within my adjustable standing desk) and my guess is that you might be too in case you are working from bed, the couch or other haphazard work stations.
A recently available study by the Institute for Employment that surveyed 500 people in the first couple of weeks of lockdown revealed that over half of the participants reported new pains and aches, especially in the neck (58%), shoulder (56%) and back (55%). The double-edged sword to the, which I’m experiencing now, is these pains keep us from doing things the activities that nourish our mental and physical health. It’s been tough for me personally to rest as I heal, but much like this pandemic, I remind myself to show patience and trust the procedure – again, and again, and again.
The human head is the reason 8 percent of the body weight so when we hunch right down to look at our screens, which include the Zoom Happy Hours and Netflix binges, we are putting a whole lot of pressure on our neck and backs. We are also likely sitting or standing with poor posture, which affects our shoulders, hips, knees.
Matt Pippin, CSCS, Mobility Expert and co-Founder of Pippin Performance, is someone I met with a mutual colleague and he has helped me tremendously with my hips. Pippin explains that “more pains and aches are happening because we are walking less and our usual body treatments like massage, chiropractic adjustments, stretch practitioners, trainers, yoga class, pilates, etc. have either been completely eliminated or have already been severely compromised. We are also not using our chairs properly and most importantly, stress levels are through the roof.” Research shows that chronic high degrees of stress have been connected with more pain through the entire body.
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Pippin offers some methods to alleviate this:
- Corrective exercises – “CARs,” which are a symbol of Controlled Articular Rotations, certainly are a series of exercises that can take your joints through their greatest pain-free flexibility. Pippin explains, “The wonder of the exercises is that they take your three big joints, the hip, shoulder, and spine, and via movement become an anti-inflammatory for them by giving vital nutrients to the joint capsules.” I began to do these CARs during the day (for instance, I make an effort to do them after each bathroom break, seeking to create a new habit by carrying it out immediately after a formed habit), and I am in a position to do the hip and shoulder CAR while standing over my computer. At least, give them a go. Here are the links with video instruction:
- Shoulder CAR: https://youtu.be/-tNNROyKSm4
- Hip CAR: https://youtu.be/yGMFxPnWdw4
- Spine CAR: https://youtu.be/lCJ7VNPP6lc
- Set multiple alarms/reminders – Hours can pass rapidly if you’re on back again to back Zoom calls and deep in to the screen. However, by setting alarms during your day to get right up and do the next activities, you’ll maintain a far greater place by the end of your day.
- Walk around your home.
- Do your CARs.
- Switch work stations when possible (for instance, maybe have a stand-up area as your go-to, then sit at your kitchen table, and a comfy spot such as a couch or lounge chair what your location is not hunched).
- Take action to take your brain from work for 5-10 minutes.`
- Take a seat on the ground . Pippin recommends this to numerous of his clients, instructing them to “place either thick pillows, blankets, or when possible a few yoga blocks on the floor and sit cross-legged, together with your computer on a chair or couch. Sitting on the floor is ideal for the hips, plus in the event that you focus on keeping an extended tall spine, you’ll train those little muscles that are in charge of keeping a good-looking posture, while strengthening your core. Think about it as a mini-workout when you get your projects on!”
How are you sitting as you read this article? Pippin offers three simple and quick posture checks that I’ve adopted by setting my phone alarm every hour and they’ve helped immensely:
Double Chin – This sounds terrible, but through the use of your index finger to push your chin in, you’ll put your cervical spine in an improved position causing you to contract those deep front neck muscles.
Sternum up – By elevating your sternum a bit (think chest up), you’ll place your thoracic spine in a far more neutral position forcing you to contract those muscles around your mid back.
Roll those shoulders – When you roll your shoulders in a backwards pattern, you begin to mobilize those pesky neck that whenever get stuck, may become so tight and achy.
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I also looked to my pal and one of the best Peloton yoga instructors Kristin McGee for a few breathwork and stretches I possibly could do during the day that i inspired my kids into doing with me, because YES, they too are slouching because they home based.
McGee recommends these three yoga stretches as a habit before work or throughout the day:
Downward dog : You are able to do this on a mat or on to the floor or a towel as well as making use of your desk by placing the hands on the desktop and walking your feet back until the body is parallel to the ground. You’ll feel an incredible stretch along the trunk of your body, the shoulders and the legs. Down dog is a gentle inversion that gets blood flowing the mind aswell.
High altar arms : These can be carried out seated or standing. Interlace the hands and invert your palms as you press them up overhead above you. Relax your shoulders down from your ears and discover length in your torso. Take deep breaths as you are feeling your body lengthening as well as your energy lifting.
Ankle to knee pose : Tight hips result in lower back pain. Ankle to knee can be achieved in a chair or on to the floor. Place one ankle atop the contrary knee and invite the knee to drop open the medial side. If you are in a chair keep carefully the bottom foot relaxed on to the floor and begin to bend forward to feel the stretch. If you are on to the floor you will keep the contrary leg long or bend it within the top leg that’s bent to stack the shins and get a straight deeper stretch. Hold both sides for 5 to 10 breaths.
Take two minutes and do these now. Just do it, set the habit.
The best reminder from McGee is to “make certain you are not holding your breath when you work.” So when you set that point do some posture checks or CAR exercises, also take a breath. This makes an environment of a difference for body and mind, and relaxing, reducing stress.
My hips are improving as I challenged myself to Matt’s Healthy Hip Challenge (it requires less than ten minutes per day) and also have been practicing yoga whenever you can. I’ve also enjoyed keeping just a little massage ball such as this (but a tennis ball can do) under my feet and rolling my feet over that.
The takeaway for you personally? Don’t sit in the same place for too much time. Get outside and move as it’s critical to your current physical and mental health. Make sure you remember to turn work off and look after yourself because health, as we are realizing every day, is our wealth. Begin right now, enter that downward facing dog before you’re back again to work.
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