Working from home comfortably

By Alice Barford
Physiotherapist

Make sure to take regular breaks – go for a short walk or stand up and have a stretch every hour or so

Set up your desk correctly;

  • Elevate your monitor or computer screen to eye level to reduce excessive strain on the head and neck
  • If working from a laptop use a separate keyboard, so that you can elevate the screen but have your keyboard at hand height
  • Sit with your bottom all the way back in your chair and use the back support to avoid slumping postures or over-correcting
  • Make sure your feet are even on the floor – if they don’t reach, use a foot stool

Exercises for desk based working:

  • Shoulder retraction: Standing or sitting pull shoulder blades backwards and down, making the gap between your shoulder blades smaller. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat a few times.
  • Swimming motion: Sitting up straight, take your arms out in front of you and pull back in a ‘breast-stoke’ swimming motion. This will help to mobilise the nerves in your arms and upper back which might get tense whilst sitting at the computer.
  • Chin tuck: Sitting or standing upright, imagine you have a piece of string coming up out of the crown of your head pulling upwards. Slightly tuck your chin in to strengthen the muscles in the front of the neck. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 7-8 times.
  • Back extensions: For low back ache when sitting. Every half hour or so, have a stand up, place your hands on the bottom of your back and extend backwards. Return to neutral and repeat about 10 reps. This will alleviate pressure building up on the structures in your low back.
  • Forearm stretch: Reach one arm out in front of you. With your other hand pull the wrist and hand downwards so that you feel a stretch across the top of the forearm. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. This will release tension which can build up in the forearms with long hours on the computer.

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