5 Office Exercises to Keep You Healthy While Working From Home
How much of your time do you spend at work? An average person spends about one-third of his life or close to around 90,000 hours at work. This is already huge, but it gets even bigger if you factor in the time you spend getting ready and travelling to and from work daily.
If you’ve been working from home as most people do nowadays, the time you spend “at work” can be longer or shorter depending on the boundaries and expectations you set for yourself. Although it shouldn’t be, working from home has somehow blurred the boundaries between work and life balance.
According to a study that analyzed job industry trends for the past 50 years, 8 out of 10 Americans are involved in desk jobs. This may involve sitting for long periods of time, with very minimal requirement to move at all. Because of limited and almost repetitive patterns of movement, you have the tendency to develop work-related health issues which may include obesity and musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain.
These work-related health issues are not only painful, they may also lead to other health disorders that may require a more serious medical intervention such as surgery. Before it gets to that, it’s good to learn more about them and see what simple remedies and lifestyle changes you can do to prevent them from happening. Here are some simple exercises that you can do at home to keep you moving and healthy:
Squeeze a Stress Ball
A handy stress ball is probably one of the most convenient, oldy but goody tools for exercise that you can use any time. When you’re on the phone or listening to a zoom meeting presentation, try squeezing a stress ball and doing at least 30 repetitions for each hand. Not only will your hand muscles and grip get stronger, you also release your stress.
Stretch out your arms
Stretching out your arms as well as your upper body can do wonders for your alertness and overall focus while working at home. A tricep stretch, overhead reach or upper body stretch can relax your tired muscles and reduce fatigue. Incorporate a few but consistent repetitions of these exercises in your workday and you’ll be surprised how it affects your energy towards the end of the day.
Stretch your shoulders, neck and wrists
Stretches that release your shoulders are important because they help ease and relax your shoulders from getting too tired and stiff when you slouch over your computer. A shoulder shrug every few minutes along with a gentle stretch to your wrists can relax your stiffed muscles almost immediately and allow you to type faster.
Do a one-minute plank for every hour you’re working
If your back can talk, it’ll probably hate you for sitting too long. Planks are great for strengthening your core, aligning your back and improving your posture. For every hour you spend working and typing away on your computer, do a plank for 1 minute. To make things more interesting, you can switch from traditional planks to side planks every other minute. It doesn’t matter if you do the plank at the start or at the end of the hour, what matters is you commit to doing the whole minute every time you need to. That may only be 8 full minutes if you work for 8hrs, but something is always better than nothing, right?
Rest your Eyes
The word “exercise” probably doesn’t apply to the eyes in the strictest sense, but we can all agree that the eyes probably do majority of the “work” when we’re working, so they deserve a lot of TLC too. Try doing the 20-20-20 rule which advises that for every 20 minutes that you look into a computer, you loot at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can also try to look at greenery or plants to relax your eyes as green is a soothing color to the eyes.
Make sure to set aside time to do these stretches as you go through a day’s work. It might be difficult to stop especially when you’re in the middle of something and you’re on a “roll”, but make it a point to take breaks when you need to. It may seem counter-intuitive at the moment but knowing the risks to your health should make you think long-term. Set an alarm every so often to remind you that it’s time to get up and about for a few minutes.
Although these exercises aim to keep you healthy and energized despite long hours of working, they shouldn’t be used as an excuse to keep working when you shouldn’t. Remember, there is such a thing as work-life balance and it still holds true even when you’re working 10 steps away from your bed. Keep in mind that one of the first steps to being and actually staying healthy, both mind and body, is learning to say no when you should.
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