Shapesmiths coach, Karima Adi takes us through some home truths, when it comes to working from home! She lays out how to look after your posture whilst at your desk during lockdown…
Lockdown 3.0 sees many of us working from home and therefore from the (dis)comfort of our kitchen tables, counters, desks, sofas and everything in between.
Not having the gym to access for our fitness for the time being also means that our work at home area has also become our workout area, meaning that our current level of activity & movement is further reduced. This means that we are spending a lot more time sitting, and most of that for extended periods of time.
So if we are going to spend more time sitting/working, then it’s imperative that we look at adopting postures that ensure that we’re not upsetting the delicate balance of our bodies even further.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO to look after your posture whilst at your desk during lockdown and ensure that your work station is set up as well as it can possibly be to aid us in working as discomfort free as possible?
STEP 1 – DO NOT SIT for more than 15 minutes at a time.
What happens when we sit for too long?
- The psoas along with various other muscle tissues begins to shorten in an effort to keep our torso stable, due to your glutes essentially being switched off when you’re in a seated position. When this occurs over long periods of time, you may notice that it feels more difficult or uncomfortable to stand up fully/extend.
As Crossfitters & Weightlifters we are extension driven – compromising that by sitting for too long can therefore compromise the integrity of our athletic performance.
- Can you take a meeting/work call on a walk? We know right now it’s often grey, dark and rainy, but the movement will be well worth it! Just have a warm shower, a hot cup of coffee and your comfies ready for when you get back!
STEP 2 – Let’s take a look at your workstation:
- Are you sitting or standing to work?
- If you’re sitting, what is your set up?
- What is the angle of your forearms/elbows to the floor?
Ideal working set up: standing vs sitting
Sitting:- what is the BEST set up if you’re going to be sitting down whilst working from home?
- Feet flat on the floor
- Roll your shoulders back
- Move every 15 mins – SET AN ALARM
- If moving every 15mins is not possible, figure an interval that works for you and set THAT up as an alarm!
Standing:- though this is a lot better for you, standing for long periods of time is not the most comfortable thing to do.
How do we make this more comfortable and more efficient?
- Have something (stack of books etc) to put one foot on to take the extension load out of the spine and support it accordingly by adding a little bit of neutral flexion.
- Adding a bar stool/high chair to the mix means that even though you are sitting down, not doing so fully and you are STILL weight bearing meaning you haven’t switched the entire musculature system off completely, hanging on your connective tissue.
STEP 3 – Breathing
- Can you take a deep breath in your work set up position? If you’re in a “bad” position, the answer is most likely NO.
- Add some breathing exercises:
- Box breathing (In for 5/ hold for 5/ out for 5/ hold for 5 [seconds])
- In for 6, hold for 6, out for 10 [seconds]
KEY THINGS TO DO FREQUENTLY OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR WORKDAY:
Roll your shoulders encouraging an externally rotated (as opposed to internally rotated) position. Opens up the ches, allows for better breathing.
Get up every 15-20 mins – perform a few air squats perhaps.
Spend some of your working day standing – BUT do so with the correct set up – it needn’t be expensive to set up, stacks of books are the perfect tools!
Roll/rotate your wrists so they don’t stiffen up only ever perched in a typing-ready position – imagine a front rack position with super tight wrists – NOT FUN
So there you have it. Some sage advice, but now it’s time to put it into practice and make it a habit. To accompany this article, I’ll be delivering a short webinar via the Shapesmiths Members Page. Stay tuned for the date announcement!