We talk a lot about posture and desk set up but we forget that movement is key.
Our bodies are designed to move in all directions. Regular movements such as bending, twisting, jumping, reaching and rolling allow our bodies to function properly. Without proper movement simple functions such as strength, flexibility and endurance are affected.
Like many others, two years ago I was fixated on telling patients to sit straight, stand tall and have the perfect desk set up. I still stand by these points, but I push movement more. Technology will only advance further, making desks, computers and laptops vital for our day to day lives. Many of us work 9-10 hours a day, commute 2 hours and collapse on the sofa after a long tiring day. Too often I see patients at 7 pm and they have only done two-three thousand steps. We then spend our weekends trying to make up this lack of movement and cram in hours of activity, often resulting in injury or soreness.
In recent years I have been encouraging patients to move more. Some fortunate businesses have started using the sit-stand desks. I agree that these are beneficial not only for our bodies but minds. Studies have shown that those who use sit-stand desks can improve motivation, reduce fatigue, increase circulation and decrease the risk of chronic illnesses and diseases.
In a standing posture we are more likely to be mindful of our surroundings and fidget. We are also more likely to break tasks into smaller sections, walk around when on a call or note-taking. I would recommend a headset and note dictator – this stops ear to shoulder posture or chin to chest.
Like anything new, people should start with small changes. 15 – 20 minutes of standing every hour can be built up to 45 minutes of standing per hour. That may seem like a big jump but spread over time your body will adjust. I still stand by the need for good footwear, proper posture and correct desk set up. If you repeatedly slump over your desk with your head stuck forward, you will end up with issues and pain.
It is a time like this when all sense of normality has gone out of the window, I ask people to change habits. Can you have two work-spaces at home? A kitchen table and dresser or sideboard can make good temporary workspaces. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to move every 45 minutes. Take advantage of the isolation and do 15 burpees or 30 walking lunges to break up the hour. If you can go out into your garden and take some deep breaths, even standing by a window to have your tea or coffee will have a positive effect.
As a sports massage therapist I am fortunate enough to spend most of my day on my feet. I am also lucky enough to walk to work in the Baltic Triangle. My sessions are in 45-minute or 60-minute slots, so I have a little time to sit between each patient.
I understand not everyone has these options but all you can do it try. Set some new goals and see where they take you.
If you have any queries please do be in touch.