Working from Home: Better Posture for Better Health
As we recognize the first anniversary of the country’s first stay-at-home orders, the way we work has fundamentally changed. Many companies, including Yieldmo, are moving toward a workplace model that embraces asynchronous work and working from anywhere policies. We’re no longer bound by geography to bring the most talented people together to help our clients achieve their marketing goals.
While many people have found unique benefits to working from home, such as taking conference calls while walking around the block or spending time with family members in between meetings, it has also brought new challenges to our health. We talked to yoga teacher, artist and designer Kelsie Capitano about work from home posture and why it’s important.
Photo Credits: © Kelsie Capitano; @kelsiecapitano
Good posture is one of the foundations of long-term health. You can prevent so many issues later in life by just sitting and standing up straight. In the short term, good posture can improve your focus, energy, and bone health.
When asked what the biggest mistake people make with their posture when working from home is, Kelsie shared it is probably hunching over while working on our laptops. “Hunching our shoulders for an extended period of time can lead to lower back issues, neck pain, and even headaches. To avoid hunching over while working, make sure your laptop is sitting just slightly lower than eye level and let your elbows rest at 90-degree angles while you type. Also, try to avoid working from your couch, if possible.”
Kelsie continues, “another big mistake we make is sitting for way too long. Sitting for hours on end really wreaks havoc on our blood flow and can lead to lightheadedness and bigger nerve issues like sciatica. Try to stand up every hour or so and walk around for a bit, even if it’s just to the other side of your room. Bonus points if you do a mini stretch session.”
When it comes to seating, choosing the right chair doesn’t need to be a Goldilocks-like experience, Kelsie recommends a standing desk with a seated alternate chair for short breaks.
I’ve tried many office chairs from exercise balls to gamer seats, and I highly recommend just using a standing desk. During my workday, I’ll switch it up, though. I usually stand for the first few hours. Then I’ll sit in my regular old dining room chair. Then after lunch, I’ll sit on the couch for an hour (bad, I know). Then it’s back to my standing desk for the rest of the day. I think as long as you switch it up and make sure to move around every hour or so, any comfy chair will do.
Stretching is also a really great way to keep the blood flowing and focus on your posture.
“Each body is different, but generally, if you can stretch for 5-10 mins in the morning and 5-10 mins before bed, you’ll start to really notice improvements in your posture and flexibility. I’m a big fan of yoga, and I try to do longer 30-45 minute practices 3-4 days a week with small stretch sessions throughout the day on off days. Even on busy weeks when I can’t get to my longer practices, those short 5-10 miniature stretch sessions really help keep me physically and mentally limber.”
Here are five stretches and yoga poses Kelsie recommends for that WFH life:
Make sure to roll nice and slow. The connective tissues in your neck (fascia) need about 15 seconds of stretch time to actually relax, so pause regularly as you roll.
Roll your shoulder slowly in a clockwise motion– these feel especially good if you’ve been stuck in a hunched sitting position for a while. If you can, try clasping your hands behind your back as you roll to deepen the stretch.
This is an AMAZING pose for improving posture. It helps you practice stacking your joints in a way that engages your core and prevents hunching your shoulders.
Our hips get so tight from sitting at work all day, and this pose opens those hip joints right up. This pose stretches the nerves, circulates the blood, and really creates space in an area that crunched up all day. Yogi fun fact: We carry a lot of emotions in our hips, so when we engage in half pigeon, we’re not only improving our joint health but our emotional health as well. *You can do this pose on your back, too, if you prefer.
There are many inversion poses, but my favorite one is “feet-up-the-wall.” You basically lie down in front of a wall, lift your feet up, rest them against the wall, and chill out. It’s said that 5 minutes in this pose is equivalent to an 8-hour nap. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure does feel great! Some other inversions include toe touches, handstands, and headstands.