Part of staying healthy and fit and taking care of your body while you work. Many of us are not used to working from home, and may be finding the experience quite painful – literally. Here’s how you can take care of your back when you work from home.
Exercises to stretch out and strengthen your back
In the following video, Discovery Vitality biokineticist Mari Leach demonstrates exercises that can help stretch and strengthen your lower and upper back. “These areas can get quite achy from sitting and working in front of a computer all day,” she says.
First, she shows three stretches that you can do while you’re sitting in your chair. “We want to open up the chest, because when we work in front of a computer, we often tend to have rounded shoulders.”
- Interlace your hands behind your back, lift your chest up and lift your hands up. Feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 2 to 3 times.
- Pull the towel down to feel a stretch in your tricep muscle on the arm that’s at the top. Now pull the towel upwards and you’ll feel the stretch in the front of your shoulder on the arm that’s behind your back. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, repeat 2 to 3 times.
- Lift up your chest and keep your chin in, try not to overextend your lower back by pulling in your belly button towards the spine.
Next, Mari demonstrates exercises to strengthen your lower and upper back, which include pelvic lifts, hamstring stretches, side planks, front planks and more. She also shares invaluable advice on maintaining your form.
Watch the video to see how she does it:
Protect your back in 5 steps
Here are 5 more ways that you can take care of your back while working from home.
- Support your lower back
Place a rolled-up towel, jacket or lumbar support pillow between your chair and the small of your lower back. This will help you sit up straight and prevent lower back pain.
- Make your chair more comfortable
Put a soft pillow or a fluffy blanket on your chair to make it more comfortable. You won’t feel the urge to slouch so much if you’re sitting on something soft.
- Take a break
Move as often as you can to circulate the blood flow. Take a 5- to 10-minute break every hour to get up and stretch or walk around. It’s also a good time to try housewalking and work on increasing your daily steps!
- Create a better working space
Keep your computer screen below eye level so that reading doesn’t hurt your neck, and an arm’s length away so you don’t strain your eyes. Adjust your chair until your feet are flat on the ground and your hips, knees and thighs are at a 90-degree angle when you sit down.
- Invest in an ergonomic chair or medicine ball
A medicine ball is great for your core, but might start to hurt if you have a job where you sit for hours on end. When you order a new chair online, make sure you can adjust the seat height, arm rests and back rests, and that it provides the correct support of your posture, weight and lumbar while sitting.
Visit the Vitality at Home page (https://www.discovery.co.za/vitality/vitality-at-home-exercise-nutrition-health) for more ideas on how to stay healthy and rewarded at home.
Keep up to date with the latest Vitality news on Facebook (Discovery Vitality) and Twitter (@Vitality_SA).
Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay rewarded.