Forget the Couch—Take Care of Your Posture While Working from Home

Esqueça o Sofá — Cuide da Sua Postura Enquanto Trabalha em Casa

Having correct posture is much more than one of your mother's old wishes, whenever she told you, incessantly, to pay attention to your back. Nowadays – and after the teleworking regime has been installed for the overwhelming majority of the population – sitting on a folding chair, on a sofa or in bed for hours, while on the computer, can be tempting, but it can also ruin your life. your posture completely.

Teleworking is a new habit that has already taken root. And, as a result, those who don't have a work area at home have to choose between sofas and tables in the kitchen or living room to work, something that can have an extremely negative impact on the body.

We know that the murder weapon is the computer, as we use it to work eight hours a day, or even more. When we use it without external equipment – ​​keyboard or mouse – discomfort in the neck and upper back gradually begins to appear. If this were a scenario that occurred in just a few days, the problem would not be so serious, but if you extend this window of time to a few months, the tendency is for this problem to get much worse.

The truth is that, according to Dr. Francisco Oliveira Freitas, podiatrist responsible for the Famalicão Podiatry Center, “working safely at home can be a challenge for the back, due to the increased pressure on the spine, caused by the long hours uninterrupted periods of sitting at the computer.”

According to the doctor, one of the dangers for the spine is remaining in the same position for long periods, as during the several hours we sit and work, the muscles and intervertebral discs are overloaded. Therefore, it is essential to take regular breaks, so that you can change positions.

Consequences of incorrect posture

There are several health problems that can arise from poor posture. Back and foot pain, constipation, high blood pressure, difficulties in post-workout recovery, fatigue, as well as psychological consequences (lack of motivation, bad mood or sleep problems) are all that can happen, according to Dr. Francisco Oliveira Freitas.

Sofa: your worst enemy

Working from the couch – this is one of the worst mistakes you can make. It's because? Because shortly after, you will find yourself completely lying down.

It may seem like the most comfortable place at first, but the truth is that the couch is actually the worst place to work. And this can be seen after a while, since when you sit on it, you tend to let yourself fall or lean over to bend your shoulders and put your head forward, putting more pressure on your body.

If you really have to work from the couch, set a timer to remind yourself to get up and walk around regularly.

What precautions should you take?

At home, we automatically feel more relaxed. But this relaxation should not negatively affect body posture.

The workspace must be organized and it is important to choose “a stable surface, such as a desk or table” and to have “a good chair, in order to prevent fatigue and discomfort”, says Francisco Freitas. “A chair that is too high will lead to poor posture”, so choose one that has wheels and an adjustable seat – soft and padded – so that its height is easily adjustable. The back of the chair should support your lower and upper back.

The expert also leaves some fundamental tips, namely:

1. Get up regularly and walk around the house for a while to stretch your muscles and joints;

2. Keep the computer keyboard close to you, at a distance of between 10 and 15 cm;

3. Use a cushion if the chair does not have lumbar curvature;

4. Keep the computer monitor at eye level, using a stand, books or even reams of paper;

5. Adjust the height of the chair so that, when sitting, your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at the same level as your pelvis;

6. Do not cross your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor;

7. Do not lean forward or backward while sitting and maintain correct trunk alignment and your back supported by the back of the chair.

Pilates to combat bad posture

What makes Pilates so important in relation to posture is that this method of physical exercise trains us to develop and use strength, rather than maintaining our position with superficial muscles. Using our abdominal and back muscles to support our posture allows our shoulders to relax and our neck and head to move freely, relieving stress on our hips, legs and feet.

Good posture is very important in providing pain relief throughout the body, including back and neck pain, allowing us to move efficiently, improving muscle function and circulation.

There's nothing like waking up early to do some Pilates exercises. Get to know some of them, to do in the comfort of your home.

Exercise 1

This position can be used to check your alignment, breathing and centering at the beginning and end of a session. Or you can simply use it for rejuvenating relaxation when you need to recharge your batteries.

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your entire shoulder blade and lower back resting on the floor. Make sure there is no space between your shoulder blades and the floor. Hold for a minute, pressing your shoulders into the floor.

Exercise 2

Lie on your back, with your knees bent next to your torso;

Open your arms, keeping them close to the floor, at shoulder level, and inhale in this position;

Exhale while rotating your knees to the right. Keep your shoulders and shoulder blades close to the floor;

Inhale and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the movement to the left side. Repeat eight times.

Exercise 3

Lie on your stomach and then slowly rise up on your elbows;

While in this position, squeeze the central part and bend your left leg;

Point your toes toward the sky and slightly lift your knee off the floor, tensing your back end;

Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs. Repeat 5 times on each side.

Exercise 4

Lying down, with your spine aligned, keep your legs bent and your arms along your body;

Raise one leg, forming a 90º angle;

Exhale and straighten your leg, without letting it drop. Be careful not to arch your back;

Inhale and bend your leg again, trying not to bring your knee too close to your chest. Do the same exercise with the opposite leg. Repeat eight times on each side.

Exercise 5

This is a stretch that improves and strengthens the waist. Kneel with your legs about a foot apart;

Place your left arm straight and raise your right arm;

Gently bend at the waist, keeping your spine straight and your head up. Switch sides. Repeat 5 times.

And now that you know everything about how to maintain good posture, surprise your colleagues in the next video conferences and start applying everything you've read.

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