The end of the pandemic is here! No, it’s not. Yes, it is! No, it’s not.
Whichever end of the spectrum you choose to believe in, the truth is your neck and back pain from siting are here to stay unless you do something about it. Every article on LinkedIn pushes a hybrid working from home and going into the office. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.
A typical going into the office day:
- 30–45-minute commute sitting each way (driving, carpool, public transportation)
- 6-7 hours sitting at your desk, in a meeting, on sales calls, etc
- 1 hour sitting at lunch
A typical home office day:
- 8-9 hours sitting at your dining room table, couch, or home office chair
- Driving an hour for carpool or sports practice
- 1-2 hour sitting while on devices/TV at night
Regardless of which method or combination of methods you choose for work, developing chronic pain from sitting is guaranteed! What the pandemic did was increase the attachment to devices by requiring workers to be on more meetings than before as a way to ensure people are “working”. If you were in denial of feeling the pain before March 2020, you probably aren’t now.
How can you alleviate your muscle imbalances and pain while still being productive? There are a number of stretches and exercises you can do standing next to your workstation, whether it’s in a traditional office sense or at your dining room office. I’m asked in all my interviews by radio and podcast hosts how often should a person stand up and move around. The answer is whenever possible. Use that technology to set an alarm as a reminder to at least stand for two minutes every hour at the minimum.
For those a little more ambitious that care about their health, here is a five-minute routine you can do twice or three times per day, without getting sweaty.
- Arm flaps: extend your arms at shoulder height to your sides, thumbs up. With shoulders back, head looking forward and in line with your spine, raise your arms to touch thumbs above your head. Lower them back to shoulder height in the starting position. Repeat 15 times
- Face pulls: extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height palms facing down. With shoulders back and head in line with your spine, pull your arms back toward your face, then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times.
- 1 leg RDL with reach: stand on one leg (use a wall or chair for balance if needed), extend the opposite arm at a 45-degree angle toward your head. Reach across your body and touch the opposite knee of the leg you’re standing on keeping your arm straight and return to the starting position. Do not lock your knee, keep it with a slight flex as you normally would while standing. Repeat 10 times on one leg then switch. As you get stronger and better balance, touch lower on your leg toward your foot.
These three movements can be done anywhere and anytime without weights. All age groups (yes even kids doing online school) can do these and benefit. The muscles worked are your hamstrings, rear deltoids, rhomboids, and mid trapezius. These are muscles that get over-lengthened while sitting and typing on your laptop because you are hunched over. Give them a try and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with how you feel after trying daily for a week. You can also post on my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Want more help? Sign up for my course Overcoming Chronic Pain Through Stretching & Strengthening. Guaranteed to make a difference or your money back!