“We aren’t designed to sit in front of a computer,” he says. “Unless ergonomics are perfectly perfect, my head tends to lean against the screen, which makes me depressed.”
Pickett explains that while sitting for long periods of time, the muscles get tired and try to maintain posture. Because you’re focused on the screen, you usually don’t know when to start hunting.
Suzanne Snodgrass, an associate professor at the University of Newcastle, co-authored a 2018 study that 80% of computer workers reported musculoskeletal discomfort the previous year, most commonly on the neck, shoulders, or hips. I found.
She is currently recruiting participants in a study to investigate how this year’s massive shift to telecommuting is affecting our bodies (you can complete the study here. ). So far, about 90% of respondents have experienced musculoskeletal pain.
It’s still unclear if this pain is directly related to posture, but she says the two are often related.
Snodgrass states that it is important to resolve the issue early. “It can be difficult to correct over time because the spine can become stiff if it is in a bad posture.”
Hunting is caused by weak back muscles. Consistent hunting further weakens these muscles, tightens the chest and creates a “downward spiral,” says Pickett. Long-term risks include spinal curvature, shoulder, neck, and back pain, and headaches.
According to Pickett, the number of patients with injuries related to poor posture is on the rise.
Snodgrass also believes that more people are at risk, and many workers are reporting more pain, she says.
“Most people at home don’t have the right ergonomic settings, especially the way they happened at COVID, and people are changing very rapidly,” she says.
There are wearable gadgets that claim to fix their posture, but Pickett says they shouldn’t be needed, especially as the first port of call. Regular stretching, light exercise, good ergonomics, and regular sitting breaks all help. Below are some ideas.
Think about how you are sitting. According to Pickett, the ideal position is to stack the head vertically on the neck, back and pelvis. “The prompt I give people is to imagine that there is a string on the top of your head and someone pulls the string and gently pulls you up,” says Pickett. “I don’t want to stay fixed and stiff because my muscles are designed to work at 10-20% for a few minutes instead of 100% all day.”
Leave yourself to the act. Many are unaware that they are hunting. Pickett suggests setting up a phone next to you while you work and film yourself for about an hour. Then take a quick look at the video. The start and end positions and when dropped are displayed. Introducing a variety of exercises will improve your posture over time.
Yoga movements. Pickett recommends a “thread through the needle” pose for spinal mobility and back and chest stretching. Starting on all fours, slide your right arm to the floor below, with your palms facing up and reaching as far away as possible. Press and hold for 3 seconds, then lift your left arm so that your fingertips reach the ceiling. Press and hold for 3 seconds. Run 10 cycles, then the other side.
Execute the line. Strengthening your back and shoulders will improve your posture. To line up one arm, place your left knee and left hand on the sofa. Place your right foot on the ground and bend your back straight and parallel to the ground. Hold a weight (dumbbell, soup can, etc.) in your right hand and pull it up so that your elbows are aligned with your torso. Repeat 8 times, then run the other side. Complete this for 3 cycles. You can also create a seating row by placing a resistance band (or a pair of stockings) around a pole-like structure. Grasp either end with your hand and pull your back straight until your elbows are at 90 degrees and you lie down. Release slowly, then repeat 8 times, 3 cycles.
Please replace the chair. According to Pickett, sitting on a fitness ball activates the core and stimulates the muscles in the posture. “Some people are currently enjoying this while working from home.”
Please move your head. Look up, look down, look at either side. This helps loosen the neck joints and reduce stiffness, says Snodgrass.
Some simple stretches. For example, to stretch the upper back, stand behind your back, interweave your fingers, and lift your hands away from your body, Snodgrass says. Alternatively, to stretch your upper back while sitting at your desk, stand tall and face forward, with your palms facing forward and your arms as far back as possible.
Follow your eyes. According to Pickett, the more you look down on the screen, the more likely you are to hunt. Lift the screen as needed. The top of the screen should be approximately eye level. Read the ergonomics guide to repair your workstation.
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Sophie is a Deputy Lifestyle Editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
8 tips to fix your work from home desk setup
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