Pain and Posture When Working From Home
So you’re stuck working from home? You don’t have your lumbar support chair or your angled keyboard and you’re worried that you will have “poor posture” working from your dining room table instead of your desk.
Research is showing us that there is no perfect posture and we cannot expect every individual to function optimally in the same “ideal” position. So then, what is the definition of poor posture? We believe that any posture that is sustained for a significant period of time is a poor posture, regardless of desk height, chair angle, sitting, or standing. Our bodies are made to move, therefore; when we ask our body to sustain a position for a long time, it responds with aches and pains.
Your body may have built up a tolerance to the sustained posture that you use regularly at work and it might be possible for you to sustain one posture in the office without getting sore.
Studies done have shown us that if we continue to sustain a particular posture over a long period of time, day in and day out, we can learn to resist the urge to fidget (which is our body’s way of telling us to move).
At home, your setup will be different and some aches may start to crop up if you try an 8 hour day in this new position.
Here’s a comparison:
If you regularly do weighted squats, you likely don’t have any pain with or after squatting. One day you decide to add many repetitions of lunges to your workout. It’s a similar pattern, using similar muscles, but your muscles are sore after because you’ve never done lunges before.
This could be how you feel in a new working position at home. Your body will not be used to this slightly new posture that you will be asking it to sustain. Frequently changing positions and postures and taking movement breaks can decrease your aches and pains that may crop up working from home. Take this opportunity to set yourself some movement breaks to make sure you stay productive! Research shows that taking movement breaks can actually increase productivity. Set your phone alarm to remind you to get moving every 15-20 mins and avoid those “working from home” aches pains!
Tips on ways to encourage movement throughout your work day:
- Have a small glass or bottle of water beside you so you have to get up and fill it more frequently than a large one.
- Use a timer or a movement notification app on your device of choice to remind you to get up and move.
- Set a movement goal throughout your work day such as 50 squats or 20 push-ups. Don’t do them all at once, break them up into sets of 2-5. This will get you up and moving frequently.
- If you have a phone meeting, make it a walking meeting! You can take notes on your phone if needed.
We’d love to hear your ideas! Let us know what you do in your day to get moving, but stay productive!
More standing and just as productive: Effects of a sit-stand desk intervention on call center workers’ sitting, standing, and productivity at work in the Opt to Stand pilot study
Exercise is more than medicine: The working age population’s well-being and productivity
Gisela Sjøgaard *, Jeanette Reffstrup Christensen, Just Bendix Justesen, Mike Murray,
Tina Dalager, Gitte Hansen Fredslund, Karen Søgaard
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Research Unit of Physical Activity and Health in Work Life, University of Southern Denmark, Odense M DK 5230, Denmark