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Don’t Let Working From Home & The Winter Blues Stop You From Moving

24th, Nov 2021

Shorter days, darker evenings and the wintery weather can make us retreat to our sofas a lot easier in the evenings. A full day of work and sitting in front of a computer screen can have an additional impact on our physical health and result in a lot of aching neck, back and shoulder muscles.

We spoke to our new Physiotherapist Aoife McKeever who gave us her advice on why we need to keep moving throughout the winter months as well as throughout our working day.  She also offers some of her top tips.  

Do you find the working from home culture which has resulted from the Covid19 pandemic has increased back problems?

I think the working from home culture has allowed more people to live a more sedentary lifestyle than they had previously. People are moving less as they don’t have to walk to the office or even walk down the road for their coffee! As a result, people are spending increased periods of time in the same position which can make them more likely to experience back pain. Recent studies have shown that spending up to seven hours per day in a seated position can significantly increase your chances of developing back pain (Subramian and Arun, 2017). Therefore, its very important to break that cycle and get moving throughout the day!

In our recent HealthStyle podcast, Physiotherapist Shea McAleer advised that we should move at least every 30 - 40 minutes, even if it was just to have a quick walk around the house. Why is this so important throughout our working day?

With fewer outlets at home and less dissociation between work and home people may experience higher levels of stress and frustration (Galanti et al, 2021). Keeping active throughout the day can help to limit this. Higher levels of activity boost our endorphins- making us feel better and it also helps reduces stress. It has also been proven to improve sleep duration and quality. Studies have shown that spending prolonged periods in the same position (even if it is the ‘perfect’ seating position) can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness (Coenen et al, 2017). Getting up and moving every 30-40 minutes can help to reduce this.

Would you say it is more important to exercise throughout the colder months?

I personally think its very important to regularly exercise all year round! However in the colder, darker evenings it is a lot easier to persuade yourself against doing something. The dark and cold weather can have a negative effect on our mood and I think exercise is a great way to combat this! It may be a good idea to try and get out for a walk/ light jog at lunch time when it’s still bright outside!

What simple exercises or stretches would you recommend at the end of a working day to help avoid aches and pains?

I think the best type of exercise is the exercise you most enjoy, as you’re more likely to do this regularly! This may be walking with a friend, swimming, cycling or jogging!

However, some nice stretches/ exercises I like to do are:

  • Thoracic windmills
  • Thread the needles
  • Bridges
  • Squats
  • Plank shoulder taps (can be done on your knees as well)

Keep an eye out on our Instagram page for some demonstrations of these!

What top tips would you give for keeping active while working from home and throughout the Winter months?

My top tips would be:

  • Schedule time in your day for exercise and try stick to it
  • Find an exercise or activity that you enjoy doing so that it doesn’t feel like a chore
  • Try and meet the recommended guidelines for exercise and activity- ie 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of high intensity, weekly!

If you are experiencing pain or have any concerns, why wait? Visit kingsbridgephysiotherapyclinic.com for further information on our services and treatments available. If you would like to book a consultation with one of our physiotherapists, please email physio@kingsbridgehealthcaregroup.com

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