When millions of employees across the globe were struggling to transition to the new work from home environment at the start of the pandemic, one of the unexpected consequences was back pain, body aches, and poor posture.
More workers were sitting down for most of the day, hunched over at their desk, taking less breaks away from that desk, walking less frequently, and paying less attention to their posture while settling into the new norm. People are moving less, since most activities and events are cancelled, closed, or at minimum capacity.
In fact, it became such a relevant concern that the term “pandemic posture” has been coined as a significant issue resulting from the transition to work from home.
The Risks of Sedentary Work
Pandemic posture is an actual health concern. The longer you sit at your desk and the less you’re reminded about the presence of others (since you’re not in the traditional workspace) the more gradually you become hunched over at the neck, shoulders slowly leaning inward, posture gradually shifting, as you slowly sink into your chair. People who used to move frequently throughout the day or interact with others had more reminders to stand or sit up straight and hold themselves correctly.
This causes lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, tailbone and leg pain, and even contributes to increases in migraines and headaches.
Even before the pandemic hit, concerns were raised regarding the health concerns of sedentary lifestyles regarding employment that had people sitting down for a majority of the day. In fact, standing desks rose as a consequence of trying to combat sitting for hours on end. Recent studies revealed that life is actually decreased in a person who sits for hours on end during the day. Life expectancy actually decreases as more hours of sedentary activity induce more health issues.
Today, most employees are going to remain working from home. Many offices discovered they can save money by not renting office space, while employees prefer the flexibility of working from the comfort of their own homes. If being seated most of the day is going to be dangerous for one’s health, what can be done to combat this?
Fighting Pandemic Posture
If this is going to be the new norm for many workers, it’s important to take necessary steps to ensure your own health and safety while also remaining productive. Did you know that correct posture while sitting and working actually increases productivity? Here are 5 effective ways to stay healthy while working from home:
1. Visit a chiropractor: A chiropractor can help alleviate aches and pains associated with sitting in front of a computer all day, as well as help to correct posture and provide meaningful ways to eliminate those aches and pains throughout the day.
2. Take walking breaks during the day: For every hour or two of work, take a break and head out for a quick, 15 minute walk around the neighborhood. Reset your mind and body, get some fresh air, and get your blood moving.
3. Work standing or get a standing desk: If you’re able to handle phone calls or video meetings while standing, do it. If you can afford a standing desk or even just an inexpensive standing desk extension, use it to help get you on your feet more.
4. Get an ergonomic chair: Ergonomic chairs are designed to keep you comfortable and productive while working, as well as help promote good posture and increase productivity overall.
5. Do stretches or exercises throughout the day to improve posture: Not only are these an effective way to gradually improve your posture overall, but they’re also another way to get you moving. You Tube videos and online articles on Pinterest and other sites have dozens of ways to help improve your posture.
Regardless of what line of work you’re in, priorities your physical and mental wellbeing and watch how much pain and stress can be eliminated throughout the day!