Now more than ever, the “typical office” environment is changing. Some of us are working from our kitchen table, some from the lounge (!) and if you’re lucky, you’ve already implemented the ideal and ergonomically correct home-office setup. Sitting at a desk for 8+ hours per day is neither natural nor healthy, so movement throughout the working day is vital, especially when you’re WFH and getting up to chat to your co-workers or make a dash outside from the office may not be the norm anymore.
Keeping active at when you’re both working in an office environment and working from home is a great way to prevent and manage aches and pains. Desk exercises have a wide range of physical benefits, like decreasing muscle tightness, decreasing joint stiffness and improving posture. Desk exercise also have many mental benefits, such as decreasing stress, improving mood and increasing energy levels.
Here are some useful exercises you can do at your desk (or makeshift desk!) while at work:
People often carry stress and tension in their shoulders. To counteract this, sit up straight and slowly raise your shoulders towards your ears, then slowly lower them to their resting position.
- Cervical (neck) rotation
When you’re looking at a computer screen all day, it’s easy to end up with a stiff neck. While sitting up tall with your head held high, gently look over each shoulder to stretch your neck.
- Thoracic rotation
Sitting for long periods can also lead to stiffness in the upper back. To stretch your thoracic spine, put your hands behind your head with your elbows raised, then gently turn your head and shoulders together, looking from side to side.
- Knee extensions
Sitting for prolonged periods of time can result in stiff knees and tight leg muscles. While sitting, straighten your knee with your leg out in front of you. You can also bring your foot to a right angle and point your toes for an added calf stretch.
The best way to avoid aches and stiffness while sitting at your desk is to get up! Going for a short walk every hour is the best way to avoid becoming slumped in your chair. The more trips to the printer (or kitchen!) or to get a glass of water, the better.
The above exercises are a great way to stay healthy at work.while you work. Physiotherapists can perform individualised assessments to determine the best plan of action and treatment for you, so you can get on top of your pain and live a healthier life at work. So book an appointment today and start your journey to a healthier, pain-free body.