BACK HEALTH - Four tips for better back health
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Given the situation with lock down and Covid-19, many of us are currently working from home.
This situation is looking like it might stay for a while yet too.
While there are some benefits with no commute, less travel and food expenses and so on, we are however, already fairly sedentary culturally as many of us work in offices and often aren’t moving as much as we should on a daily basis.
The comfort of our own home might foster the mentality of working on the couch and adopting postures that just aren’t good for our bodies. Moving less, sitting more and (perhaps worse of all) sitting in one position for long periods can quickly lead to adaptation, stiffening hips and backs potentially leading to lower back issues due to “slumped” sitting postures
The key is not to stay in one position for too long! Take frequent breaks to get up, move around, plan walks or exercise on your breaks and rotate your working positions as frequently as you can. You can also help mitigate the negative effect of sitting with daily hip mobility and stretching.
A ratio I have adopted is 1 minute of hip stretching and mobility for every 1 hour of sitting down. Another recommendation for those who have no restrictions or injury issues, is to try and spend more time sitting on the floor! Start small, 10 mins here and there in various different positions from cross legged to legs in front and so on.
We were designed to spend time on the floor (sitting, sleeping, eating) and we have to engage our bodies in beneficial ways from both sitting AND getting up from the floor!
So to summarise the above, here are the ways we can keep our backs and hips healthy whilst we spend more time working from home:
• Move often don’t sit in one position too long, every 45 mins try to change it
• Incorporate exercise and walking into the day where possible to break up long periods sitting down
• Try to incorporate stretching and mobility daily - 1 min for every 1 hour sitting
• Try incorporating sitting on the floor if it’s possible - start small 5-10 mins at a time (put your laptop on a chair and try short periods of working)
On a final note, certain exercises will also help strengthen key areas that become neglected due to long periods sitting down.