No pain, no gain.
Who hasn’t heard this proverb? Basically, it tells us to push ourselves more to feel that we have worked hard. However, it is not always the case – what to do if the pain comes from incorrect sitting positions?
Easier said than done. We have gone through multiple pieces of training, e-learning, and all the instructions on adjusting our sitting position to be pain-free. We have the knowledge; we have the means to implement it – so why are we still crossing our legs on the chair? Or leaning back? Almost lying down in front of the computer? We just try to find the most comfortable position – most of us spend 8 hours working in front of the computer. Our activities after work usually include sitting too, watching TV, reading a book, or drinking beer with friends. If we sum all that time, it may be that we spend a large part of the day sitting. No wonder we are adopting different, improper positions.
So, are we destined to hurt?
No, we are not. However, as you may expect, we will need to make an additional effort to avoid getting hurt. You already know what will come next – we need to move more, so easy! We don’t need to exercise every day, but we need to take a walk at least. Summer is right around the corner – it will help implement healthy habits. Are you using public transportation to work? Try getting off the bus or tram one stop earlier. Do the same when going back home, or just start your journey from a different bus stop.
Sitting correctly in the office is easier since you’re not wearing your comfortable sweat suit; wearing jeans or a suit at work automatically requires us to sit straight. Additionally, dedicate 5 minutes every hour to stand up, fill a glass of water, or do gentle stretching exercises. Take at least six small breaks like this and drink at least 1.5 liters of water. This will get you closer to your minimum daily goal of water, your eyes get a break from looking at the monitor, and you will have additional walking minutes by going to the washroom. We have Aspire Power Club in my organization, which encourages us to participate in diverse physical activities such as cycling, volleyball, basketball, marathons, and many more. This not just helps in keeping us healthy but also rejuvenates our minds. Similarly, you can also involve in various season-based physical activities. When it comes to the exercises you can do at the office; here are some examples:
- Start with your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight.
- Lower your chin toward your chest and hold for 15-30 seconds. Relax, and slowly lift your head back up.
- Tilt your chin up toward the ceiling and bring the base of your skull toward your back.
- Move your head to the right, hold for 15-30 seconds, and repeat on the left side.
- Bring your head to the right shoulder, hold, and repeat on the left side.
- Bend your trunk sideways to the left while sliding your left hand down your thigh and reaching your right arm over your head.
- Hold to a count of 10.
- Return to the starting position.
- Now, bend your trunk sideways to the right while sliding your right hand down your thigh and reaching your left arm over your head.
- Hold to a count of 10.
- Repeat this sequence nine more times.
I work from home; I can sit however I want.
Again, true. But does your neck and back agree with that statement? If they hurt – they are telling you a big ‘NO.’If you cannot resist the temptation to cross your legs on a chair or lean backward because you have so much freedom of movement in your sweatpants – go for it. However, you have to compensate for it, implement the habit of getting up 5 min every hour (the same as recommended when working from the office). Additionally, since you won’t spend time commuting to work, dedicate time to stretch in the morning. There are dozens of stretching videos online, so the excuse, “I don’t know what to do,” won’t work. I can recommend one 15 min video with pleasant, relaxing music, which will set a calming tone for your day:
(Video credit to Mady Morrison’s YouTube channel)
This is a much-loved corporate catchphrase. It does tell the truth, though! I believe that balance is the key – we spend a lot of time sitting, and then our body needs movement. If you’re not interested in exercising, then enjoy stretching and walking. It will do wonders not only for your body but also for your mind. Let’s get up!