Let us paint a picture for you ― since the pandemic hit and work from home (WFH) directive was enforced, you have been enjoying your lazy days at work… we mean home. No one is monitoring you so you can eat whatever you want and when you feel like it, slide your laptop off your lap, and take a short nap.
One fine morning, you wake up as per your usual time, late, at 11:00 A.M., pick up your laptop from the side table, open it, and start working. After a few hours, when you stand up to get yourself a coffee, you feel this sharp ache in your back. Gasping, you sit back down and try to figure out what just happened. That bolt of pain came out of nowhere!
You try to stand up again but your back doesn’t fully straighten out. You swear you can almost feel your backbones popping, trying to get in line. Alas, you can’t bring yourself up to walk normally. With this hunchback posture, you walk to the kitchen and make yourself a coffee, all the while wincing with pain.
You, my friend, are suffering from pandemic posture!
“Is there such a thing?”
Yes, there is! Let’s find out what it really means:
Understanding Pandemic Posture
With COVID-19 still raging and forcing companies to adopt the WFH directive, more and more people are slumped in recliners and typing away on their laptop screens. Are you reading this with your shoulders slumped and belly in roles? Do you think this is the perfect posture?
Pandemic posture is a new term coined for employees working from home. These people slouch wherever they are sitting, whether that’s in the bedroom, on the couch in their living room in front of the TV, or in their home office.
Did you know that poor posture can decrease the air you take into your lungs by 30%? Your slouched posture is not just killing your back and neck but also creating a host of health issues, which you can easily prevent by sitting straight and visiting a chiropractor.
The problems with sitting for too long are that they don’t just cause pain in your muscles and joints but also creates internal problems, which can lead to diabetes, heart diseases, and, in rare cases, cancer.
Posture problems can occur irrespective of a person’s age. It’s more about your environment and how comfortably you stay in a single position. The longer your bad posture is maintained, the more severe the pain gets. Sitting straight is often a struggle because you are always looking for a support system. When you find none, your back automatically starts to curve. Here’s how bad posture can affect you:
The Correct Postures
Below are a few ways on how to improve your posture. Sit down and take stock of your body ― the way your hands, legs, feet, and arms are positioned.
Your weight should be distributed evenly on both sides of your thighs and hips
Your knees should be bent at the right angle. If you are planning to sit in your home office, they shouldn’t be higher than your hips when your feet are touching the floor
If you are sitting in a leisure pose, your ankles should be positioned in front of your knees
Do not sit in the same position for too long
Keep your shoulders relaxed but your back straight and your elbows at 90 degrees on the arms of your chair
Do not twist in your chair. Always get to grab whatever you want
While standing, your back should be straight and your shoulders back
Pull in your stomach lightly to support your back
Your weight should be more on the balls of your feet with the toes only acting as a support system
Don’t keep your arms stiff, and let them hang naturally and free
Keep your feet always shoulders width apart
Stand with your knees straight
Do not sleep on your stomach or side. Make sure that there’s not too much curve in your back. For this, it is important to choose a mattress that adjusts to the contours of your body
If you are a side sleeper, get one of those pillows you can easily put in between your knees to avoid back pain
Do not lift heavy objects if you haven’t ever lifted weights in your life. This might cause a disk in your back to dislocate, which can cause immense pain
If lifting an object, bend only at the knees and make sure your back is straight
Always stand with your feet wide apart when lifting an object; this will allow you to firmly keep your feet on the ground and not tip backward or forward
Tips on How to Correct Your Posture
Are you ready to bend a little? American College of Sports Medicine published a few guidelines on how to maintain the correct posture to avoid any spinal problems. Below are activity tips for those who work at home:
Start by stretching in the opposite direction of the position you have been maintaining
If you have been sitting facing forward then stretch backward
Stand up and put your hands on your back, lean a little back and straighten your spine
Clasp your hands on your back, push your shoulders together, and then exhale deeply to stretch your shoulders
Raise your hands in a V position, lean a little back, and take deep breaths to open up your chest
*Hold each position for at least 30 seconds.
Get up now and then and have a beverage. We would recommend that you drink a glass of water every time but a cup of coffee once a day will work too.
Lift Light Weights
Keep 2kg dumbbells near your work desk and during your scheduled break, lift them a couple of times to stretch your arms.
Start Your Day with a Walk
Before you sit down for work, take a long walk around the block. You will probably sit for too long, even when you account for getting up occasionally. However, a morning walk will energize you and help you start your day on a good note.
Take Your Pet for a Walk
Working from home has several adverse effects, such as depression and anxiety. Sitting alone with no one to interact with can be stressful. If you have a pet, take it out for a walk.
How to Get Rid of Pandemic Posture
Are you working from home? You need a standing desk now! You might be wondering how a standing desk can improve your posture. Standing all day long is bound to hurt your feet. Now, we’re not suggesting you stand and work nonstop. Still, the posture you maintain with a standing desk is quite beneficial to any surface you sit on.
This piece of furniture not only increases productivity rates but provides you with the perfect combination of sitting and standing options to give your back and yourself some reprieve. Here are some of the benefits of using a standing desk:
Relieves Back Pain
A great tip to prevent back pain is to stand and sit at regular intervals. However, when your workstation is stuck in one place, this can be difficult. This is where the standing desk comes in. With its adjustable height and wheel at the bottom, you can change your positions whenever you please.
As we said earlier ― the less your pain, the more focused you will be on your work. This is the perfect table to create a work-life balance!
Improves Energy Levels
According to a study published in the Journal of Preventing Chronic Disease, when the prolonged sitting time was reduced and employees stood and worked at regular intervals, they reported less fatigue and stress. These results prove that using a standing desk can keep you healthy and in good spirits all day at work.
- May Prolong Your Life
Can a table help you live longer? Yes! You might find the statement preposterous. However, around 18 studies have proven that people who sit more are at a 49% risk of dying early. Better stand up now and take a walk because your life literally depends on it.
We don’t know when the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end and allows normal life to resume. For now, we need to stay at home and protect ourselves as well as our loved ones. Working from home is a welcome relief for employees who work late night shifts and don’t get to spend time with their kids. Don’t destroy this wonderful time by compromising your health. Studies have proven how drastic the results of sitting for too long can be. So, get yourself a standing desk and try out the activity tips we mentioned.