Check in with yourself. What is your home working situation?
Is your laptop literally on your lap?
Are you, like me, working from your kitchen table, and maybe not exhibiting the best posture?
Are you sitting on a hard chair, or a chair that is too soft?
Are you standing more than in your work office, or sitting more than you normally do?
The other day, I felt like my shoulders were up to my ears! The way we hold ourselves is key to keeping our bodies healthy! Oftentimes, we don’t even realize we are slumping over our computers, or splayed over a table as we read a report. The “Office Exercises” below might help! Give them a try!
Practice these gentle stretching exercises throughout your office day. Set your alarm to remind yourself to try them once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Soon it will become a habit. You’ll be feeling better in no time at all! (If you have joint injuries to any of the areas below, proceed with caution).
Shoulder blade squeeze. Sit up straight in a chair with your hands resting on your thighs. Keep your shoulders down and your chin level. Slowly draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of five; relax. Repeat three or four times.
Arm-across-chest stretch. Raise your right arm to shoulder level in front of you and bend the arm at the elbow, keeping the forearm parallel to the floor. Grasp the right elbow with your left hand and gently pull it across your chest so that you feel a stretch in the upper arm and shoulder on the right side. Hold for 20 seconds; relax both arms. Repeat to the other side. Repeat three times on each side.
Full Body Stretch. Raise your hands overhead. Put your left hand on your desk and grab the back of your chair with your right hand. Slowly twist to the right, and hold for 5 – 10 seconds. Turn back, take a deep breath and switch – place your right hand on your desk and grab the back of your chair with your right hand. Slowly twist to the left, and hold for 5 – 10 seconds.
Cubicle Leg Lifts. Sit up straight in your desk chair. Lift your right leg until it’s even with the chair (90 degrees). Hold for 2 seconds. Raise it a little higher and hold for 2 seconds. Return to the floor and do the same thing with your left leg. Try 10 – 15 with each leg.
Upper-body Stretch. Stand facing a corner with your arms raised, hands flat against the walls, elbows at shoulder height. Place one foot ahead of the other. Bending your forward knee, exhale as you lean your body toward the corner. Keep your back straight and your chest and head up. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest. Hold this position for 20–30 seconds. Relax.
Sit Downs. Stand up in front of your desk chair. Place your hands on your hips. Slowly, start to sit down until you are a couple of inches above your seat, and hold for a few seconds. Rise back to starting, and try to do about 20 times, s-l-o-w-l-y. This will work your thighs and calves. The key is to do it as slowly as possible.
Remember to look up and away from your computer or your work space every hour too. This will help with your eye strain.
And, get up and move each hour. Stretch, look outside, even take a quick 5-minute walk in the fresh air.