Sitting posture while working from home

Posted by Umang Gupta on

It’s been more than 4 months that we all have been fighting with COVID-19 pandemic. We all have been practicing social distancing, wearing masks, sanitising hands regularly. You may have found yourself working from home or taking classes from home. 

Have you noticed that your neck and back are a little sore? Or are you experiencing more headaches than usual. If the answer here is a yes, then this is because of the change in your posture as you have transitioned from your workstation to your office at home. 

May you have been spending a lot more time on the laptop on the bed rather than on the desk. Or maybe you are sitting on the couch rather than on the desk. All this might make you comfortable to do your task. But these changes in sitting posture and activity levels affect your body and the way it functions. Sitting in the wrong posture may cause pain in the back, pain in the neck and shoulders and muscle spasm.

Although to avoid pain in the body and decrease mechanical stresses on your body, you can make few changes or easy adjustments to your workstation at home for a correct posture. 

Bad posture puts stress on the muscle, spine and bones causing pain and weaknesses. Poor posture can hamper blood circulation that can cause varicose veins. 

Here are a few positioning changes that you must try:

  • Sit at a desk/table 
  • Avoid sitting on the couch or bed with your laptop
  • Avoid slaying on the bed and couch with your laptop
  • Keep the keyboard and mouse near each other to avoid reaching 
  • Use a hands-free device for long phone calls to avoid straining your neck
  • Position your head approximately at arm's length away from the screen
  • Avoid sitting longer than an hour time, take a 1-minute walk in between. 
  • Use a comfortable chair preferably made on ergonomics to allow you to sit in a good posture. 
  • Place your laptop on the surface which is parallel to your head.

Apart from making changes to your workstation, you might want to try a few exercises to help your body keep strong and limber. 

Chin tucks:

  • Move head straight back so that your ears are in line with your shoulders
  • Keep chin down and think of achieving height through the crown of your head
  • Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times

Thoracic Extension:

  • Lay down over a foam roller or towel roll at the upper back 
  • Hold the position up to one minute

Corner Pec Stretch:

  • Place forearms on the walls in a corner with elbows around shoulder height
  • Place one foot in front of the other and bend your front knee, bringing your body closer to the corner
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, repeat
  • Alternatively, you can also perform this stretch in a doorway

Seated Pelvic Tilts:

  • While sitting, place hands on hip bones
  • Tilt your pelvis forward by arching your low back, tipping the front of your pelvis forward and down within a comfortable range
  • Tilt your pelvis backwards by tucking your tailbone, tipping the front of your pelvis backwards, again within a comfortable range

Hip Stretch:

  • While sitting with feet on the floor, bring one leg up, placing your ankle on the opposite knee/thigh
  • Gently press your knee down, bringing it closer to the ground
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, perform two repetitions, repeat on other side

Seated Heel/Toe Raises:

  • While sitting with feet on the floor, raise heels off the floor, then back down
  • Then, raise your toes off the floor, then back down
  • Repeat 10-20 times

Wall Posture Exercise:

  • Stand up against a wall, making contact on the wall with your heels, buttocks, upper back/shoulders, and the back of your head
  • Keep chin tuck position and shoulders back
  • Maintain a neutral spine position
  • Hold this position up to one minute, repeat

Posture Drill

  • Begin seated in a chair in your normal posture
  • Bring head as far forward as you can, then as far back as you can. Settle head in the middle of those two extremes
  • Move shoulders as far forward as you can, then up towards your ears, then back as far as you can, then relax in the middle
  • Slouch your low back, then sit up as straight as you can with your chest out, then relax in the middle
  • At the end, you should be in neutral spine posture

Prolonged sitting even with correct posture, isn’t good for the body. Taking short breaks in between for a walk or by performing other cardiovascular exercises can be beneficial not just in decreasing mechanical stressors on your body but also benefit your mental well-being. This is a strange time for all of us so spare some time to do some exercises for your mental state as well. 

You might notice that after all these exercises and adjustments you’re facing discomfort. If this is the case, then we might suggest you to get connected with a physiotherapist. 

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