Like many other Barrow residents (who are lucky enough to still be employed), my family and I have been working from home
for almost a year now. We have been juggling (and arguing!) over table space and quiet times to make work calls and have
online meetings. We got protocols sorted for that and have got used to moving around the house to find the most stable Wi-Fi
connection. We worked out where to sit but it took us longer to sort out how to sit.
Here are some pictures of my family and
me at our work and how we have tried to
improve the way we sit and work. This is as
important to children doing schoolwork at
home as it is for older people.
Biomechanics coach and Pilates instructor, Mairi Taylor agrees that the importance of the way we sit, and what we sit on, plays a huge part in our overall wellbeing, and this was even before we found ourselves working from our kitchen and dining room tables. Poor sitting position can cause discomfort in our backs, arms and wrists but can also induce eye strain, migraines and headaches due to tension around our neck and shoulders. Pelvic floor function is affected as slumping can weaken muscles. Even our mood can be affected as we slouch and breathe shallowly.
According to the NHS, sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat, so is it any wonder some of us are feeling less than fabulous after months of working from home in inappropriate environments, or simply from being inactive and not getting out as much as we used to?
So what can we do? As well as the advice given above you could make sure you do the following:
- ‘water cooler breaks’: one of the things we may be missing from the office environment are those ‘water cooler moments’ when we get up and move around; talk to colleagues and make ourselves a drink. Give yourself a ‘water cooler’ break every hour. Get up, move, and grab a drink (staying hydrated will support you in so many ways).
- Mini challenges: set yourself little challenges every hour or two or just before lunch and at the start and end of a zoom or teams meeting. These could be as simple as 1 minute of squatting, lunges, marching on the spot or stretching and mobilising your upper body. If that doesn't appeal why not get up and dance to a favourite song and simply get your body moving? Set a team challenge with your work colleagues or family members and keep moving together?
- Don’t forget: it’s important to spend a few minutes mobilising your body before you go out on your run or walk in order to minimise any potential risks of injury.
It doesn't have all be high intensity we simply need to keep moving and bringing our body back in to alignment. Watch these short videos that Mairi has put together to inspire you.
You could also try the following local online classes to support yourself and support your physical and mental health: https://barrowuponsoar.org.uk/community-groups/fitness-groups/pilates-for-healthy-happy-backs.html