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Add this to your work-from-home routine

Last Modified: 4/24/2020

Stretch

Due to COVID-19, many people are finding themselves working from home. With a new setup, and perhaps even increased demand, you might find you’re having difficulty adjusting. Even slight changes in posture or ergonomics can have a huge impact on your body. That’s why it’s important to incorporate stretches and movement into your daily routine. Jason Hoeppner, PT, MBA, CEAS III, manager, Workplace Ergonomics & Rehabilitation, shares some helpful suggestions.

Stretch to alleviate aches and pains

When working from home, it’s important to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Try the exercises listed below, which are designed to help with mobility and endurance for prolonged sitting. Additional stretches that you can incorporate into your daily routine can be found here.

Neck stretch
This movement helps with upper shoulder and neck mobility for repeated movement and standing, sitting and reaching.

  • Grasp arm behind back and gently pull toward the opposite side.
  • Gently lean head toward direction of arm being pulled.
  • Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat two to three times on each side.
  • If unable to feel stretch in side of neck, change to seated position and give gentle overpressure with hand on head.

Scapular retraction
This helps with shoulder blade strength and endurance to support a good standing and sitting posture.

  • Let arms rest at sides.
  • Gently squeeze and pinch lower shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for two seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Backward bend
Helps with low back mobility for prolonged sitting and standing activities.

  • Place hands on hips or in the “small” of the back.
  • Gently arch backward getting a gentle stretch.
  • Hold for five seconds. Perform five times.
Keep moving throughout your workday
  • Take advantage of technology. You spend all day on your computer and smartphone, so put it to good use. Set a simple timer or try an anti-sitting app. Schedule a reminder at the start of each day and when it pops up, get up and move. You can even set the snooze to remind you in an hour to move again.
  • Messy desk? Stand in front of your desk as you straighten the piles of paper. Not only will you burn more calories, it may give you a wider range of sight over a messy desk.
  • Take phone calls while standing at your desk. Boost the calorie burn by not only standing while chatting but pacing during the conversation. You can even incorporate squats or lunges.
  • Fidget. If you really can’t bear the thought of leaving your chair, start fidgeting. It can help combat the risks of sitting still. Even something as little as tapping your feet can help burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Keep office supplies far away from your work area. While it’s annoying to stand up every time you need a pen, keep some office supplies farther away than others. If you can, move your trash can and printer far enough away that you must walk to them.
  • Drink water. Keep a large bottle of water at your work area and refill it frequently. This will ensure several trips to the kitchen.

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