Many of us are trying to adapt to a new way of working at home. And for most, that means more time on the computer. As an osteopath and bodywork therapist of some 25 years, I know that poor posture can lead, not only to pain and discomfort in joints and ligaments, but also to dysfunctions of the gut and cardiovascular system. This is because, our bodies are designed to be upright, with a neutral spine, so that our ribs are able to expand and contract, as our lungs fill with air. As this happens, our diaphragm can rise and fall naturally, as we breathe in and out, which gently massages the content of the gut, and aids peristalsis. The wave-like action that moves food through the various stations of the digestive system. So… what can you do about it and why bother?
- Be careful where you work. It’s really tempting to sit on the sofa with our legs snuggled up, but this is inherently bad for our back, hips and pelvis, over a long period of time. Instead, try to set up a workstation at a desk or on your dining table. Using pillows, if necessary to create the right height and support.
- Break every 30-45 minutes and move! If you’re anything like me, once you get focused on a project, it’s really hard to pull yourself away. But this is a really bad habit over a number of days. Instead, set yourself an alarm, so that every 30 to 45 minutes you are encouraged to get up and move. This might be a simple walk to the bathroom or kitchen, or for the more adventurous, a four minute HIIT exercise. Creating a list of HIIT or Tabata training exercises that you can perform in your breaks can be a great way to integrate exercise and work into your day. There are lots of excellent training apps out there, so just find something that works for you.
- Remember that posture affects our mood. How we stand, walk and sit, has a significant effect on our health and mood, because, our central nervous system likes to be beautifully aligned, so that our body can function as intended. Slumping over your laptop will create stagnancy over time. Be that in the gut, through decreased lung capacity and oxygen uptake or poor fluid dynamics. When this happens, we start to feel grey, sluggish and grumpy because our body starts to ache and we can’t get comfortable. This in turn, changes how we react to those around us, shifting our mood and outlook to life. So, sit well when you work, get your work space clean and tidy and give yourself regular down time from your screen to stand tall and stretch.
- Hydrate – the easiest way I have found to stay hydrated, is to keep my water bottle, right there on my desk. This way, I can sip at it regularly with little to no effort. It almost becomes a habit if you do it every day. If you like your water to have flavour, add some fresh fruit or cucumber. Avoid chemical sweeteners and sugar!
- Avoid caffeine. If you’re tired, don’t reach for the caffeine. It’s a diuretic, meaning that it actually dehydrates your body, which is the last thing you want for brain power and energy. One cup of coffee in the morning, isn’t the end of the world, but if you’re feeling sluggish during the day, fresh air and movement is much better for your creativity than a mug of cappuccino 🙂
I hope you find this useful. I’ll be back with more tips soon. Love and light. Dx 🌻