Fix Your Chair
Who are you, Quasimodo? Straighten up!
In the office: You probably had a nice, padded chair with at least some lumbar support and armrests. This means it was easy not to slouch and turn into a camel.
At home: I won’t confirm or deny that a bar stool is also my work chair. While it sure would be nice to invest into an office chair, they are a) pretty expensive, and b) pretty unattractive, just saying. So what are the other options?
Here’s a cheat for immediate improvement in your posture: invest into a lumbar cushion (or for a free option, you can also just roll up a towel and use that as support, as long as your glutes are in the back of the chair), and a small removable cushion to pad the seat of your chair if it doesn’t have much support. This is a much cheaper solution, and the best part is when you’re done working, your barstool can go back to being a barstool.
Work on Wrist, Elbow, and Eye Alignment
In the office: You had an actual desk, a large monitor, and a chair with armrests.
At home: Who has space for a desk? Most of us are working in the same place that we’re eating, let’s be real. Hopefully that’s at least a table top area, and not the couch. Whether you’re at a table, a desk, or a standing desk, it’s important that your wrist and elbow alignment is on point. Think: elbows at a 90-110 degree angle, with neutral wrists that are at the same level as your elbows. Ideally, you’d also be able to keep a straight neck and your eye line would fall level with the top of the screen.
The cheap and easy way: invest into some sort of wrist support, elevate your monitor, and if you’re working from a laptop, invest into a wireless keyboard and mouse so that while the screen is eye level and you’re not acquiring text neck while you work, the mouse and keyboard are level with your wrists and elbows.
There are many ways to elevate your computer, such as an adjustable laptop stand, or a totally free stack of books. Get creative! Another cheat: A hightop bar or counter can also serve as a standing desk for free with some adjustment.
In the office: At the very least you had to park your car, walk to your desk, then walk to the bathroom, lunch room, coworker’s desk, etc.
At home: Unless you live in a home the size of your office, you’re probably more sedentary than ever! Human beings were not designed to sit for such long periods of time. According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time is linked to a whole host of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, elevated cholesterol, and obesity.
So for those of us that don’t live in a mansion, how do we get even more activity than we used to get just from moving around all day at the office? Two words: active effort. You make an active effort to move around more, and sit still less.
If you’re using the Pomodoro technique to work, make every break a movement break. Walk a couple laps around the house to get some fresh air, do a couple squats to get your blood flowing, jog in place while you watch a youtube video, take phone calls while you walk instead of sit, walk around your house while scrolling through social media or catching up on texts, etc,
Also, while working from home means you’re closer to the “office” it also means you suddenly have more time on your hands. Wake up just 20-30 minutes earlier and take a walk, or do a short high intensity interval workout. Chances are you’ll find you have less aches and pains, the more you use your body the way it was meant to be used.
So, there you have it! A few simple, easy and affordable tips that you can implement while working from home to not only save your spine and posture, but your health as well!
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