Homeworking and Exercise
Not surprisingly we are seeing plenty of patients that are still either working from home all the time or doing some sort of blended office working with a trip to the office two or three times a week.
Initially, in the earlier days of the pandemic and the lock downs, the main issues we were picking up as Osteopaths when the home workers were coming in to see us were associated with far from perfect workstation set ups. Some folk were lucky enough to have a proper home office space with all the right kit but others were coping with temporary set ups of dining tables or laptops balanced on the knees whilst sitting on the sofa. No great surprise that there were a few postural issues that resulted in various aches and pains which required treatment.
Whilst the postural problems and the far from perfect working set ups haven’t completely gone away the other thing that is coming to the fore now, especially at this time of year when the days are so short, is simply the lack of movement. When working from home it would appear that people simply sit for longer without having breaks to get up and move away from their screens. In the office situation there were meetings to go to, kitchens and cafeterias to walk to for lunch and a chat with colleagues, and also the commute to and from the office. At home the commute to the workstation is from one room to another. The fridge and the kettle maybe little more than a few steps away then it’s back to the screen with the cup of coffee. The meetings are all virtual whilst sitting at the same desk. There’s even the temptation to work longer hours. All this adds up to less movement, fewer steps, and declining fitness unless particular effort is made to correct it.
Periodic breaks away from the screens, lunch breaks which include getting out of the house for a walk, and a routine of exercise in the mornings or evenings either side of the working days are vital. It is so easy to lose flexibility and find that the shoulders and upper back are stiffening up as you adopt that hunched posture in front of the screen. Strength in the legs that aren’t being used to move you around is being lost. There might be a bit more weight around the middle from all those biscuits. All in all it’s not a great situation to be in and it needs to be worked on because the longer you leave it the harder it is to get yourself back to fitness. Consider yourselves warned!« back