Is working from home ruining your posture?
Many of us have been working from home since March, and while staying home certainly helps to lessen our risks of getting COVID-19, it also has its downsides when it comes to our health because we tend to move around less. Even before the pandemic, people with desk jobs would be sitting for 8-10 hours on average at work. Today, we sit almost every waking hour and walking is often limited to the distance between your dining table and the kitchen. That’s a ridiculous amount of sitting that can easily cause significant harm to our posture.
If you didn’t know already, bad posture doesn't just look bad; it can start a whole chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms: neck pain, back pain, chest pain, headaches and many more. Good posture, on the other hand, benefits our health. It improves our balance, reduces risk of injury, improves sleep, etc. – pretty much the opposite of what bad posture does (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-good-posture-matters) .
If you're worried about your posture, ask someone to take a photo of you from the side. If you notice your shoulders beginning to hunch and your head jutting slightly forward, you know it's time for some intervention. Here are 3 ways to save your posture when working from home (or in general):
1. Take regular standing and movement breaks
Research shows that people start slouching after around 15 minutes of sitting down. Set a timer every 30-45 minutes for you to get up and walk around your house. You could simply stand, roll your shoulders up and back a couple of times, maybe get a glass of water, or even do a micro-workout like 10 squats or lunges.
2. Set your monitor at the right height
The human head weighs about 5kg, so our necks are carrying around quite a lot of weight. When you set your monitor too high or too low, you are either tilting your head upwards or craning your neck forwards for hours, so it's quite easy to strain your neck over time. The best angle is one where your screen allows you to look straight ahead or just slightly below eye level while working. Set your monitor to the proper height, and use adjustable desks or laptop stands that allow you to alternate between sitting and standing at work.
Take stretch breaks throughout the day. Interlace your fingers, then bring your hands forward and up, enjoy the stretch in your back, then release. Or tilt your head to one side and hold it there to feel a nice stretch along the side of your neck, before switching to the other side.