Man oh man are our patients probably sick of us saying this word (almost like the dentist annoys you to the end of time about flossing).
Now that most of us are working from home, we move SO much less. At one point, gyms were closed, public parks were closed, etc. and it was really hard to be motivated to do anything outside of our homes. Patients who work from home wake up and literally sit inside on their computers and phones ALL DAY. THIS is the reason why STRETCHING is ESSENTIAL!
Stretching increases flexibility and mobility in the muscles and joints. It helps increase circulation, decrease tension and stress and prevents injuries.
Not sure how to stretch, or which stretches are best for you? Head over to our Instagram where we’ve created an IGTV video with specific stretches that patients who work from home need to do daily.
2. Using a Standing Desk
Does this sound like your typical work-day: wake up, zoom call while still lying in bed, move to the couch for some work in the afternoon and then sitting at the dining room table to finish up the day in the evening?
Fun Fact: Lying in bed or on the couch for hours at a time is KILLING your spine. So many of our patients have such severe back issues since the work-from-home order started and it’s because no one has a desk or a designated work-space. This should be #1 on your list.
#2 on your list should be a standing desk. We both use this one from Amazon (only $39.99) daily and recommend it for everyone that works from a laptop. Many employers are now offering standing desks to their employees free of charge, so you may want to ask if you have a desktop computer and need to purchase a more expensive desk for your home.
Pro Tip: Don’t SIT or STAND all day. Rotate! Stand for an hour/sit for an hour or sit in the morning and stand in the afternoon. Typically, your back muscles are more fatigued in the afternoon, so it’s best to stand during that time frame to have optimal posture and decrease the amount of damage to your spine.
Curious how to properly place your computer? Check out our friends at Defy Therapy for ergonomics 101.
3. Supporting Your Lower Back
While seated, you MUST have some support on your lower back. If you don’t have a good office chair at home, roll up a towel and place it on your lower back, or even a small pillow. You can also purchase one on Amazon.
Why is this important? Because we have a natural curve in our lower back that MUST be supported. When left unsupported, there is MUCH more pressure on the lower back (pictured above), which can lead to premature wear and tear on the spine, herniated discs and, of course, back and leg pain.
4. Taking Breaks
Break? What is that? If this was your response, then we have some work to do here.
When you’re plugged in at home without any distractions, you are more than likely to take less breaks. This means less movement, more stress and premature burnout. I’ve never seen patients so stressed before, to be honest with you.
It is ESSENTIAL to take breaks throughout your day to relax and recharge. Now I’m not talking about a Spanish afternoon siesta. Literally just 1 minute of closing your eyes and breathing deeply, 3 times a day, will make all the difference.
Tip: Dr. Josh and I love the Calm App, which has a lot of stress reducing, guided meditations.
Water = Life
If you’re not drinking water, then you’re dehydrated. Dehydration causes decreased energy, decreased focus, increased tension, and many more negative side effects. Did you know that dehydration is also the cause of many headaches? So drink up!
How much water should you be drinking?
You should be consuming half your body weight in ounces of water daily. A 200 pound person should be drinking 100 ounces of water= 6 bottles of water (16.9oz bottle-please don’t use plastic, though!). That’s before you add in physical activity and being out-and-about in this hot Miami heat.
Bonus: Drinking a lot of water also obviously makes it so you have to use the bathroom more often, which gets you away from that darn computer and up and moving around. WINNING!
Hate the taste of water? Try adding lemon, mint, lime, strawberries or cucumber to your bottle!
6. Bonus: Get Outside
Being trapped inside is great for protecting you from Covid-19, but our bodies need to get outside. We need to move, breath fresh air and soak in some Vitamin D.
You can absolutely get outside safely. Even in this big city of Miami, we have parks and beaches that aren’t crawling with people. Additionally, if you go early in the morning just after sunrise, you’ll find that you have the entire area to yourself!
Also, getting ample amounts of Vitamin D has been linked to boosting immune system function. Vitamin D enhances the function of immune cells that protect the body against all the bugs that may be floating around, including Covid-19. The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 600 IU, but children over 9 can take up to 2,000IU daily (consult your physician for what is best for you).
So, there you have it! If you’re working from home, be sure to take good care of yourself and implement these 6 items into your daily routine. Questions or concerns? Feel free to give us a call 305-721-2718 or send us a text 305-439-9779.
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