Most people who have been working from home for the last few months likely fall into one of two categories: They can’t sit still, frequently getting up to tend to home to-dos when they should be working, or they roll out of bed, open their computer, and don’t move all day. Despite no longer sitting at their desk in their office, folks in the second group are likely moving even less throughout the day than they were before. If that sounds like you, here are three tips that can help you stay loose, strong and flexible while working from home.
Avoid the Sofa
It’s true that your computer is called a laptop, but that doesn’t mean you should be working with it on your lap. Sitting on the couch with your laptop resting on your legs forces you to look down at the screen, which forces your upper back into an unnatural position. This posture puts a lot of pressure on your neck and can cause chronic pain in the neck and upper back. There has also been evidence that working with a laptop on your lap can negatively affect men’s reproductive health. To avoid these effects and limit neck pain, keep your laptop on a desk or table and avoid carrying it to the sofa or a chair.
Plant Your Feet
Once you’ve found a place where you can work from a chair with your computer on a sturdy surface, how you sit in that chair can also influence how your body feels at the end of the workday. Sitting too far down in your chair or with your legs up can cause lower back pain and soreness, while crossing your legs or folding one foot underneath you can create alignment issues, resulting in pain in the hip joints. One simple trick that will keep your spine long and straight: Think about keeping your feet planted flat on the floor while you work. This will stop you from crossing your legs and makes slouching more difficult, limiting the likelihood of developing back and hip soreness.
Stand and Stretch
Now that you’re situated at your desk or table and putting in the effort to sit with strong posture, it’s time to get up! A growing body of research suggests that sitting all day can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. To avoid these effects, experts recommend standing up and moving around for a few minutes every hour. If you spend a lot of time on conference calls, pop in headphones and take those calls standing up. Or if you prefer, set an alarm to go off at the same time every hour and use that time to loosen your body. Prolonged sitting can cause pain in the hip flexors and hamstrings, so try stretching those with a kneeling hip flexor stretch or a forward fold. If you’re feeling low on energy or don’t have time for a workout, use those few minutes to squeeze in some squats or push-ups.
Or to really stay limber while working from home, don’t forget to join in on our daily P4LF workouts! Don’t live in a P4LF Community? Check out our YouTube Channel.