With two-thirds of the workforce now working from home, there is growing concern to adopt new practices that promote wellness along with productivity. To maintain spine health while adjusting to this new normal, it’s important to stand, stretch, and practice self-care.
Be sure to place your computer monitor at or just below your eye level so you don’t look down. If you're on a laptop, it might be beneficial to invest in monitors to enlarge your screen, or at the very least a keyboard so you can type with your shoulders relaxed, as opposed to up by your ears if your laptop is raised.
Maintaining certain body angles will help predispose you to better posture, especially if your home office doesn’t have ergonomic seating like many workplaces do. Strive for sitting with 90-degree angles at the knee joint, hip joint and elbow joint. It is also helpful to keep your elbows in closer to the body. This means sitting with feet flat on the floor, chair at a height that allows the thighs to be parallel to the floor, shoulders above the hips, forearms parallel to the floor, and wrists resting in a level position.
Over time, muscle tightness can lock into place, creating pain and reducing mobility. As you sit, your hips flex, shoulders hunch, the chest caves, and the head drops forward, shortening and tightening the body’s muscles. Try these three simple stretches for the upper and lower body, and try to work them in as frequently as possible throughout the day.
For each hour you sit, step outside or stand and stretch for five minutes to loosen the muscles. If you need to, set a timer to make sure you get that five minute break.