With most Americans working and studying from home during the COVID-19 crisis, activity is limited, and our at-home-office situation may be hurting our posture. Our bodies are, in part, made of muscles and various connective tissues that help us move, and these tissues can start to weaken as the body adapts to the “21st century posture,” said Logan Instructor and Health Center Clinician Michael Jula, DC.
So why worry about posture? A healthy posture can prevent a multitude of back, neck and shoulder pains. As the month of May is recognized as National Posture Month, and to help us all remain our healthiest throughout the stay-at-home order, Dr. Jula offers a few practical tips:
- Motion is life. Your muscles and joints want to move, and most of us get bogged down with work and other commitments and don’t do the things we’re supposed to do. When you move your body, you are waking up the muscles that you don’t use when you’re sitting all day.
- Posture-proof your workspace. Something as simple as paying attention to your ergonomics while you’re at work helps, and the location of the computer monitor is also very important – you want it placed at eye-level. You will put strain on your neck, shoulder and upper back if you’re looking up or down for too long. Even if you don’t have an elaborate work-from-home setup, you can raise your monitor as needed using a stack of books.
- Use it or lose it. Not everybody has to be an athlete to avoid low back pain. People feel lower back pain when they sit for too long, because it’s the sitting posture that puts the most weight on the spinal discs. A great way to contrast the constant sitting and take care of your spine is to stand up and use your muscles often.
- For every hour of work, you could spend five minutes stretching or walking around the house. People often forget to get up when they’re working from home, so get in the habit of getting your blood flowing regularly throughout the day.
- Focus on the mind and body connection. Personally, I’m a big believer in the mind-body connection. Your mind and body are trapped together in this plane of existence. If you do things to help your body feel better physically, I think it stands to reason that you’d be better equipped to fight stress or anxiety.
- Just walk. If you go for a walk after dinner every night, you might even find that you sleep better. Walking doesn’t require any money, and you can do it wherever you are as long as you’re not violating any social distancing protocols. Walking can make quite a difference in how you feel.