Tips to stay fit and healthy whilst working from home by Senior Physiotherapist Daniel Browne

TIPS TO STAY FIT AND HEALTHY WHILST WORKING FROM HOME

With the unprecedented impact COVID19 is having on our workforce, many industries are opting to transition employees to a work from home model. Below are a few tips and tricks to make sure you optimise your home office set up whilst staying fit and health!

COMPUTER POSITION

Working from home will likely include a fair portion of desk-based work with many hours spent sitting behind a screen. Unfortunately, not all homes are set up to accommodate these large periods of time behind a desk. Where possible, one option is to access a sit stand desks and endeavour to switch between sitting and standing every 45-60 minutes. If this is not feasible and your set up will not allow you to change your body position regularly, then the image below describes a recommended set up to promote good upper and lower body postures. If you do find that you start to stiffen up through the neck and back, then firstly take a break! Secondly please see below for 6 key mobility exercises.

Below is an image taken from the Worksafe QLD website demonstrating a desk set up and seat position when utilising one or two screens

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/83067/guide-ergo-comp-workstations.pdf

 

TAKING BREAKS


Make sure you get up and move! Movement will refresh your mind, allow you to retain concepts or ideas easier and will break up the monotony that surrounds being desk bound. Ultimately this will decrease stress and improve productivity – a win-win situation for you and your employer. Where possible, aim to get outside for some fresh air and Vitamin D –  not only is it good to change up your physical environment, but Osteoporosis Australia recommends 10 minutes of sun each day to maintain strong bones and tissues.

https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/vitdconsumerguide.pdf

NUTRITION

At a time where we are becoming increasingly sensitive and vulnerable to respiratory illness, it is important that we give our body the adequate fuel that it needs. Referring to the Australian Guide for Health eating, make sure you are getting enough water, fruit and vegetables into your diet. This will help keep your immunity strong, and work to fight off potential illness.

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating

A QUICK NOTE ON EXERCISE

Exercise is essential for our day to day health. Exercise helps us build strength and mobility, prevents injury and allows us to improve our function with everyday activities. Additionally, exercise serves as a way to build our immunity and boost our immune system to aid in fighting off any potential illness we may have or are at risk of being exposed to. When unwell, it is important we still perform some level of exercise, albeit to a lesser intensity/degree – this may be something as simple as a light walk or gentle stretching. Please see below for examples of low intensity and low impact strengthening and motility exercises that you can perform at home.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES TO DO AT HOME

With many social organised community sporting events rapidly closing their doors as well local gyms and fitness studios now closed, you will need to perform some of your own resistance training at home. Please see  our blog entitled ‘Exercise whilst travelling’ where we have detailed a number of resistances strengthening exercise you can perform with only 2 exercise bands! If you do not currently have this equipment, they can be purchased either in person or online from your major retailers – Kmart, Big W, Rebel sport or from Select Physiotherapy and Pilates

MOBILITY EXERCISES FOR AT HOME

When we talk about movement, being strong is half of the picture. The other half is mobility – this is the degree in which we can bend, twist and straighten our body allowing us to move with purpose through a variety of different positions that reflect the needs of our day to day lives.  Below are simple mobility-based exercises everyone will benefit from – but particular those are spending an increased time at their “home” desk.

 Middle back rotation
– Thoracic open book stretch/archer stretch

 

Middle back extension
– long lay on foam roller/arching over foam roller

 

Anterior hip stretches
– kneeling hip flexor stretch/couch stretch

Shoulder blade retractions
* Note that the shoulder blades come together and slightly down, you are NOT shrugging

If you are finding that the change in ergonomics working from home is causing a stiff neck or back or perhaps you want some tailored options for a home based exercise program – then feel free to drop us a line. At Select Physiotherapy and Pilates our experienced physiotherapists are here to help keep you mobile and productive in all situations! Also, stay tuned for upcoming information regarding opportunity’s for Telehealth (online) consultations.

From the team at Select Physiotherapy and Pilates, stay happy and healthy and don’t forget to wash your hands!

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