Lakeside’s first blog series will tackle the issues of working from home (or, WFH). The WFH world poses some challenges that can be rectified with a few changes to daily life. In this blog we will discuss simple, actionable information to upgrade your life.
The biggest problems associated with WFH are:
- Sustained long postures
- Poor ergonomic set-up
- Poor sleep, hygiene, and diet
- Falling short of general exercise guidelines
This post will focus on problem number one, long sustained postures.
How important is posture, really?
While having “bad” posture does not destine you for back pain, and “perfect” posture does not make you immune from discomfort, posture can and often does play a role in spinal health.
Human beings are built to do one thing repeatedly throughout the day: move. We evolved to run far distances, climb trees, and use tools. We did not evolve to sit in front of a screen for hours on end. We are amazingly adaptable to change; our bodies developed to thrive from a variety of postures in our daily activities.
A stiff neck or an achy back is often a sign from our body to spice up our movement, to adopt a new position or spend 5 minutes stretching. It doesn’t necessarily mean you slipped a disc or you are suffering degeneration. It just means your body is craving movement!
How can we establish the habit of frequent movement throughout the day? How can we turn it from a conscious task to an unconscious habit? The easiest way is with “habit stacking”. We take the habits that are already established in our brains and we “upgrade” them to establish a behavior as normal routine.
What is habit stacking?
Think of the things you already do unconsciously on a daily basis. Make coffee in the morning? Take the dog for a walk every few hours? Scroll through your favorite social media? Work tasks can be great options as well. Is there a normal time you reply to your emails or a standing meeting 3 times a week? All of these activities can serve as the cue for our new desired behavior.
Every time that cue comes up, use it as a reminder to attach some movement to that routine. Whether it be a set of cat-cows while your coffee water boils, some chair extensions before you check your email, or a set of breathing exercises before you open social media. A little bit of movement a few times a day can set you up for success.
When that activity time comes, you need to:
- Move your joints
- Engage some muscles not being used currently
- Breath deep into your belly
After 10 seconds to 5 minutes, continue on with your day. Consciously make the decision to do that for a week or two and you may be surprised to find that it becomes automatic. Just like forgetting the act of strapping-in your seatbelt before driving, these habits will start becoming a part of our subconscious routine. With these small changes to your daily schedule, you’re feeding your body’s primal instinct to move and thrive!
Check out Dr. Pare’s video on Thoracic Rotation – 2 Ways for inspiration!
What to take from this post:
- Our bodies need movement
- Some minor pain is just your body asking for exercise
- Habit-stacking is a great way to add more regular stretching to your day
- Adding small movements throughout the day can help prevent future discomfort