5 moves to do away with those WFH aches and pains
The pandemic has completely transformed our daily routines and this has had a huge toll on all of our bodies. Luckily, physios Adam and Kylie Monteith have shared five exercises you can easily do at home to soothe any pain you might be experiencing.
Maybe you’ve felt pain in your neck and upper back, or increased physical strain from immobility and inappropriate ergonomic setups. The fact is, when we change both our daily and exercise routine, our bodies are starved of the more basic, and most definitely ‘underrated’, functional movements.
The body craves mobility of all forms, and without it, we are beginning to see a lot of lower neck and upper thoracic pains (the hard-to-get-to spot between your shoulder blades).
These, now common injuries, boil down to a loss of everyday movement while WFH — mobility that you may not have recognised to be valuable, such as getting ready for work or the daily commute to the office. Without this ‘functional hustle’, physical burnout is booming.
Despite a lot of well-intended best efforts, inadequate ergonomics of WFH set-ups remain, and long working days at the desk (now dining table) continue to catalyse the problem. We need regular physical movement, and a greater emphasis on good posture or position, and global strength, now more than ever. Here are five exercise energisers to keep you mobile and motivated while working-from-home.
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1. Happy hip flexor stretching
Get out of that seat and open up the front of your hips.
While on a bent knee, tighten your tummy and gently nudge your pelvis forward until you feel a comfortable stretch at the front of your hip.
Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times for each hip.
2. Clever chin tuck
Get away from that chin poked position and get your ‘double chin’ on, your neck will thank you!
While on your back, gently draw your chin down toward your chest until you feel a soft stretch at the back of your neck.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
3. The open book
No more laptop induced rounding, let’s get your upper back rotating.
While on your back, like an archer, draw your bow back with the top arm and continue rotating and opening your chest until this top arm is flat on the floor behind you.
Repeat 30 times then swap sides.
4. The silky scorpion
The scorned scorpion = silky spines.
With your ‘hands up’ and pressed firmly into the floor, bend your knee to 90 degrees. Keeping your straight leg also on the floor, confidently rotate through your lower back to move your foot toward the floor behind you. Hold briefly for 1-2 seconds, return to neutral and swap sides.
5. Brilliant bird, determined dog
Movement and freedom coupled with the core.
Form a strong and confident position on ‘all 4’s’. Tighten your tummy and slowly extend your right arm and left leg. Maintain your position for three seconds and alternate slowly and carefully. Try this 10 times.
Setting your body up for success
Ultimately, it’s important not to underestimate the impact of your space and surroundings on your body’s health and alignment. The right ergonomic WFH set-up can set your body up for success, and the right daily movements can ensure you remain mobile and energised.
If purchasing the right work set-up is not possible, make changes to your work routine by taking calls on your daily walk and make sure you’re feeding your body the functional movements it needs in a safe manner.
Please note, these exercises should be 100 percent pain-free. If you do feel any pain while doing these exercises, cease immediately and contact your local physio.
Kylie and Adam are the co-founders of Evoker, a premium physiotherapy service based in Sydney.