Great Ways to Keep Moving While Working from Home

Author: Ergonomics 101 - Marketing Team  Date Posted:30 March 2020 

If in the past many of us felt confined by the office cubicle that we worked at, staying active at home presents a number of different challenges.

One of these challenges is staying active and healthy while gyms are closed, fitness classes cancelled and incidental exercise is virtually non-existent. 

Furthermore, sitting all day can often lead to musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and trigger finger. However, making time to do ergonomic exercises while you are working or even just standing up and moving every hour or two can help. 

We would like to share some easy stretches and exercises. Some of these can be done while waiting on hold or while taking a 2-minute break between tasks to refocus your energy. The more you do them, the greater benefit you will receive. 

 Tilting Your Wrists 

This exercise is perfect for people who spend lots of time typing away at the keyboard which can cause unnecessary strain on your wrists.  Here’s how it goes:

  1. Stretch out your arm and face your palm towards the floor
  2. Tilt your wrist to the left side
  3. Stay in that position for approximately 5 seconds
  4. Tilt your wrist to the right side
  5. Stay in that position for approximately 5 seconds
  6. Repeat the exercise

 Stretching Your Fingers 

These movements allow you to stretch the 34 muscles that keep your hands moving. By doing that, you can relieve other pain in your joints. 

  1. Stretch your arms out with your palms towards the floor
  2. Extend your fingers outward and spread them apart
  3. Keep that position for approximately 10 seconds
  4. Bend your fingers into a fist-like position
  5. Keep that position for approximately 10 seconds
  6. Repeat

 Pivoting your Head 

Tension in the neck is one of the major causes of headaches. Practising this simple stretch on a regular basis can help ensure that this tension doesn’t build up as you sit in front of your screen. 

  1. Look straight ahead
  2. Turn your head to the left so that you are gazing over your left shoulder
  3. Stay still for approximately 10 seconds
  4. Then, turn your head to the right so that you are gazing over your right shoulder
  5. Keep that pose for 10 seconds 

 Rolling your Shoulders 

Having hunched shoulders is almost unavoidable when you are working at the computer all day given the positioning of the monitor, screen, and keyboard. Having an opportunity to focus on your shoulders and make sure tension does not build up in them is very important. 

  1. Stand up straight (ideally facing a window to benefit from the natural light as well)
  2. Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion 8 times
  3. Then, roll your shoulders background in the same motion 8 times
  4. Come back to the starting position and ensure that your shoulders are relaxed before resuming your work

 Stretching your Lower Back 

When you stretch the lower part of your back, you are able to release tension that can build up along various parts of your spine. This allows the blood flow into the spinal cord which allows the many muscles in that area to relax. 

  1. Stand up straight (ideally facing a window to benefit from the natural light)
  2. Put your hands above your head and stretch them towards the ceiling. This should activate a light stretch along your side.
  3. Stay in that position for 10 seconds
  4. Stretch even higher. Stand on your tippy-toes for a whole-body stretch.

 Curling your Back 

This is a great exercise that you can do sitting down which makes it easy to repeat multiple times per day. Additionally, it helps relieve tension in muscle groups with a focus on both the lower body and the back. 

  1. Sit towards the front of your (ergonomic) office chair. Make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your legs are at a 90-degree angle. 
  2. Raise your right knee up towards your face and hold your shin with two hands
  3. Lean forward until your nose reaches your knee
  4. At the same time, you should be bending through your upper back
  5. Return to the starting position
  6. Repeat with the left knee

 Stretching your Calf 

When sitting at a computer all day, legs usually get the least amount of movement causing them to become stiff. There are many exercises like rolling your ankles that you can do while sitting at the computer. When you are ready to get up for a stretch, this is a good one to try. 

  1. Stand straight and face forward, ideally towards a window
  2. Move your right foot significantly behind your left foot
  3. Lean forward into your left foot while making sure both feet are on the ground
  4. While this is happening, the front knee will bend
  5. Keep the stretch for approximately 10 seconds. You should primarily feel it in the back leg. If you do not feel it, lean further forward on your front leg. 
  6. Return to a position in the middle 
  7. Repeat the stretch

 Lifting your Legs 

This is a perfect exercise to do while you are sitting at your desk typing away or busy on a phone call and wants to try to keep moving while you are working. Additionally, this stretch helps release tension in your ankles and knees which gives you an added benefit. 

  1. Roll your chair away from your desk leaving a bit of space
  2. Plant both feet on the floor and bend your knees 90 degrees
  3. Straighten your right leg and lift it off the floor
  4. Hold it for 10 seconds and then bring it back to the starting position
  5. You should feel the stretch through the back of the leg
  6. Do the exercise again with your left leg

While these activities might seem simple, it is easy to underestimate the amount of value they can bring to your body and mind. By taking a 30-second break every 1 to 2 hours to try a new exercise, you will be able to keep the blood flowing through your body, release tension, and keep your muscles happy as you work to beat those deadlines that are quickly approaching.

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