According to the U.S. Census Bureau as quoted by Monica Fike on LinkedIn, 37% of employees were teleworking in late October through early November, with the majority living in major cities. Because numbers can be read in different ways, that’s about 74 million people, or one out of every three people you know. This number does not reflect jobs that have pivoted to more teleworking as part of their usual routine, like pharmaceutical sales reps for example. Do you think employers have invested dollars to help their employees with appropriate workstations at home? The answer is very likely no.
People are working at their dining room tables, on their couches and beds, and at small desks in guest rooms. None of these are truly appropriate for 8-10 hours of sitting that being constantly connected creates in this WFH environment. What is the big result on their bodies? Remodeling to with weak low backs, rounded shoulders, and text neck (forward head position), all of which create chronic pain and discomfort.
As I am interviewed by podcasts and radio stations around the country, they all ask the same question, what can these workers do at home to counteract their ‘new normal’? In this blog, I’m sharing three body parts to stretch and strengthen right at your makeshift office to help the 74 million people out there suffering in silence.
- Stretch your chest/Strengthen your upper back – put your arm at a 90 degree angle in an L shape, place your arm against the corner of a wall and lean forward. Stand up tall with proper posture and activate your core. Hold for 20 seconds on both arms. To strengthen, hold your arms out straight in front of you at shoulder height. Pull your elbows back like there is a string attached, keeping good posture with a tight core and your neck stationary. Hold soup cans or light dumbbells if you have them, for added resistance. Do this for 15-20 reps once or twice a day.
- Stretch your quadriceps/Strengthen your hamstrings – grab your left foot with your left hand in a runner’s stretch, use a wall for balance if needed. Make sure to pull your left leg in line with your right leg and your upper body is erect, hold for 20 seconds, and do the same for your right leg. Strengthen your hamstrings by lying on your back, knees bent like you’re doing a sit-up, feet almost touching your butt. Push your hips up as high as you can, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lower your hips and repeat for 15-20 reps. If that is to easy, do one leg at a time.
- Stretch your groin/Strengthen your hip rotators – stand with your legs wide apart, toes pointed forward. Shift your weight to one side keeping the other leg straight, and the knee your shifting towards directly over your foot. Do not excessively lean forward, then shift the other direction. Strengthen your hip rotators by getting onto your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keeping the 90-degree angle in your leg, externally rotate one leg to feel the side of your glute contract. Do not shift your weight while doing so. Repeat 15-20 times per leg for a couple sets.
You can do all three of these movements 3-5 times per week as you feel throughout the day. It’s important to keep proper form to maximize the benefits of the stretching and strengthening. Don’t worry if your range of motion and strength are limited at first, they will improve as you do these over time. Your pain will subside, your energy levels improve, and your ability to do activities you enjoy, increase! This is your PROPER normal, get used to it!
To learn more about preventing injuries, increasing mobility, reducing joint pain, and getting more out of life, please go to my website, mattpeale.com. I offer group and personal instruction via Zoom weekly sessions to help your tennis, golf, workouts, and lifestyle hobbies. Download my free report, 3 Tips to Reduce Back Pain Your Doctor Doesn’t Know. Guaranteed to open your eyes and give you a new direction on staying healthy and active you didn’t know possible!