It’s 2021: the world has changed in so many ways, as have our ways of thinking and functioning. Amazing how quickly we adapt, isn’t it? Still, as we feel our way through our second year of (don’t say it, don’t say it) unprecedented change, the isolating and social distancing has resulted in millions of us still working from home.
Gym accessibility has also been affected, leaving many of us deprived of our training sessions at EVO.
We’re social creatures who need to move. So remote working can be a struggle for our physical and mental health.
One drawback of working from home has been transforming our home into an office and for some, even a classroom (shoutout to the homeschooling parents). Our workspace can have a significant impact on our body, leading to niggly backaches and pains.
By making some simple changes to your workspace with positioning, posture, and exercise, you can avoid being part of the isolation nation stagnation and prevent back pain when working from home.
3 ways how to prevent back pain while working from home
1 – Whip your workspace into shape
Choosing the right seating and desk is the first step to bossing your own office. If you haven’t got your own ergonomic office chair and desk, then improvisation is key.
- Seating: Choose a firm chair. A sofa might feel like it’s hugging every curvature in your back but many hours sat on soft furnishings will encourage and prolong back pain. If you haven’t got an office chair then use a dining chair with a firm back, put a small cushion in the curve of your back to help support it.
- Desk: Not everyone has a desk, but it’s essential that your laptop and paperwork are accessible and positioned to avoid back strain. Try not to work on drawers and anything that could restrict your feet and posture. Try a standing desk: your kitchen worktops can be ideal in allowing your body to stretch and elevate the muscles. If the work-top is low then improvise by adding books underneath your laptop.
- Tools: Invest in useful tools such as phone holders or headphones to avoid that bad habit of lodging your mobile under your chin while multitasking (we know, we do it too).
2 – Perfect your posture and positioning
- Posture: Your head, neck, shoulders and back should all be naturally aligned on top of each other. It’s all too easy to slump down in your seat but remember to sit up straight without forcing it. Use that cushion in the small of your back to help keep elongated in the seat.
- Bum and back: Positioning your bottom and shoulder blades into the chair’s backrest will assist in finding that comfortable working position.
- Keep yourself grounded: While at your workstation, keep your feet firmly on the floor. Avoid wrapping your ankles around the legs of the chair or stretching out right in front of you.
- Keep your laptop at eye level: You’ll find that this is the best position for avoiding back pain. It also stops you looking up or down, which aggravates and strains muscles further.
3 – Move daily to avoid back pain
- Start each day with stretching: Keep your stretches within your capabilities and don’t push yourself to a level that it causes stress on your muscles and ligaments. You need to have a productive day, after all. Your body is individual and you know your limits, so engage in a stretching exercise that feels good to you.
- Take breaks: Set a timer for 20-minute intervals so that you take regular respite away from your workspace. Again, start with a simple stretch and then try a quick jog on the spot, do jumping jacks, or perform yoga stretches for the neck and back. Read here about the dangers of sitting all day and how to overcome them.
- Use your time effectively: You’re your own boss in your home, so you have the advantage of taking exercise breaks whenever you can. If you feel that you’re becoming lethargic (there’s definitely a collective weariness right about now), then take that opportunity to immerse yourself in swift exercise. Do headstands to get blood flow to the brain, work out your shoulders and torso to increase circulation in the upper body areas. Plenty of workout on the EVO blog to keep you motivated – and back pain at bay.