The Work From Home Essentials
Unfortunately sitting postures and sedentary lifestyles can cause a myriad of problems to the body.
Our research has shown that 15 minutes of looking down into our phones (with our head down, rounded shoulders and curved upper back) is enough to cause muscle fatigue (through the spine, and even arms and legs).
Muscle fatigue leads to incorrect movement patterns (you have to compensate for the fatigue somehow).
These incorrect movement patterns lead to a higher chance of injury which causes pain.
One of the side effects of this higher chance of injury is changes in our mood. We become lethargic, we lose focus, our concentration decreases, we become more agitated and our levels of happiness drop. Overall mental wellness starts to decline.
ALL THIS BY WORKING FROM HOME!
As physiotherapists we closely look at a person’s 24 hour cycle.
The 24 hours are broken into 3 periods
8 hours of Sleep (ideally!)
8 hours of Work
8 hours of Rest / Play / Recreation / Sports / Hobbies / Travel & Transit
Pre COVID-19 everyone had two things that helped them daily.
ROUTINE – people had a schedule for work, gym, holidays, rest, weekend, recreation, sport, family time etc etc.
ERGONOMICS – Companies spent millions helping people get the right set up, correct chair, proper desks, computer screens etc.
Unfortunately now, everything is mixed up.
Routines are out the window, and working from home (WFH) pretty much means working on the couch, bed, home desk whilst your partner may be doing the same thing from another room!
So what can you do to get some normality back? Is normality even possible?
Here are the steps and tips recommended by Kusal Goonewardena, APA Titled Sports Physiotherapist:
Create a new routine for activity
Keep this simple
Integrate exercises into your day
So how can you do this? Create three daily exercise timeslots – Morning, Noon and Afternoon.
30 minutes each block.
And into each block you put in an activity that you LOVE doing.
- Stretching and Flexibility
- Strength and Conditioning
- Fun and Family
9am Yoga, Pilates or TaiChi
12noon Body Weight Exercises, Home Gym
3pm Fitness using HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Dancing (yes, dancing is very good for you – it’s fun, involve partners, kids and family, and will improve mood)
The key to this working for you
Keep moving – NO sitting for more than 45 minutes. 70% of our composition is water – so we were meant to move. The mantra ‘Any movement is an improvement’ is perfect for this period.
How do you know when to move?
The body goes through three phases when we sit for a long period of time
Phase 1 – Everything feels ok, you are moving well (you have probably just sat down). You are in the GREEN ZONE
Phase 2 – You start feeling tightness in different areas of the body – your lower back, neck, shoulders. You’re now in the YELLOW ZONE
Phase 3 – This is where the pain starts. The pain usually occurs in the lower back, and it can move down the leg (sciatica). You may get neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pains. Also when you’re in Phase 3 your old injury pains can be exacerbated. That old knee injury can feel flared up, tennis elbow pain seems more sensitive or that old RSI issue in the wrist may seem worse. This is the RED ZONE.
When you are in the YELLOW ZONE. Stiffness and tightness is the body’s way of saying ‘please move’. Traditionally we have tended to ignore this warning signal from our body. When working from home you have to be very mindful of this warning system. When you notice the stiffness, even a 2 minute walk around the house, garden or even gentle stretches can make a difference for you.
What is the best time of the day to exercise?
Answer – there is no perfect time. Mantra is ‘The Best time to exercise, is WHEN you exercise’ Everybody’d body clock is different. Everyone is going through different stresses – self isolation, work, family. So create a routine for yourself and stick to it.
What are some ways to engage the family and children?
Keep it light, make it fun and use apps, computer games, and online material.
Eg. Creating Tik Tok videos can be fun. You choreograph a simple 10 second routine which could take the kids hours!
There are myriads of online exercise classes, kids yoga, kids dancing and computer games to keep active.
And a good tip for EXERCISE PROCRASTINATION
Lay out your exercise gear on your bed the night before. Lay it out for the kids too. Wearing work out gear will help keep you in routine, and even if you miss a session (and you’re not in your gear) it will be a subtle but strong reminder for you to exercise. Remember – your brain will always make an excuse not to exercise!
The Power of Habit
Keep your routine for 21 days straight. The longer you do it the better it will be – it will create a healthy habit for you. Once you do it for this period of time it will be harder to break. A by product of a habit like this: you will feel good.
Finally, good luck – this period is not easy. But if you get some semblance of routine back into your day you will benefit. Your body and mind will thank you. You will feel good, feel loose, strong and you will be able to work, care for your family and have a better mindset throughout.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockout Period we have created an Online Work From Home Ergonomic Assessment.
Many people are unsure whether they are sitting properly, whether their computer is set up ok, whether their desk is positioned well, whether their screen height is alright – the list goes on.
Here are a few tips for getting your set up right
- Make sure you are sitting well back in your seat (the more support your back has the better)
- Make sure to rest your elbows on the armrests or the table or the desk (elbows that are not supported cause shoulder and neck issues)
- Increase the height of your screen (make sure your eyeline is forward, not downwards)
Rule of Thumb – make sure you sit as if you were on a 1 hour flight. Even on a short flight we make sure we can rest our elbows on the arm rest, back is comfortable against the seat and the tv screen is at our eyeline. Wow – it may be a while before we all fly again, but this is the positioning required when you are working from home.
If you require further information or would like to have one of our physiotherapists conduct an
Online Work From Home Ergonomic Assessment please see below.
This is done through a Telephysio (or Virtual Physiotherapy) session.
- Assessment of your potential problem areas (lower back, upper back, shoulders, knees, tennis / golfer’s elbow or wrists)
- Exercises to overcome the problem areas (We have over 4000 video exercises on our Telehab portal that you can do at home!) – these will improve flexibility, strength, core, conditioning, balance and posture.
- You also have the option of sending us your sitting posture (through our exercise portal) and we will assess this for you.
Most likely 2 to 3 sessions (spread over 3 weeks)
- 1st session – assess your body’s problem areas. Set you up with the exercises to decrease pain and to prevent any further issues. After this session you will send us a short video of your sitting posture and desk set up.
- 2nd session – Assess, correct and improve desk set up to prevent issues. Update the exercises and provide you with information to continue improving and maintaining physical health whilst at home.
- 3rd session – Fine tune and progress your exercises, assess any further problem areas and provide you with tools and techniques to prevent pain.
Cost: $45 per session (30 minutes)
How do you book your first session?
Click on Online Bookings at the top of this page >> Choose Elite Akademy Virtual Health >> under Physiotherapy choose Online Ergonomic Analysis.
or call us directly 0498 100 558
If you have any questions, concerns or simply want to speak to one of our therapists please call 0498 100 558.
It’s a difficult time, if you need any form of support, we are here for you.
Thank you and stay safe.