If you’re working from home for the first time in a while, you may not have your home office set up in a way that optimizes health. Here are some tips for your computer set up:

  1. The screen should be approximately one arm’s length away from your face.
  2. The top of the screen should be at or just slightly below eye level. If you’re using a laptop, you may need to put something underneath it to bring it up to this height.
  3. Ideally, your chair seat should have a slight forward tilt to keep your hips more open and your knees more neutral.
  4. Your feet should be able to comfortably lie flat on the floor.
  5. Ideally, the keyboard should be low enough that your elbows can be at 90 degrees and your wrists can remain in line with your elbows.
  6. A cushion can help maintain the curve of your lower back.
  7. Shoulders should be down and back but relaxed, allowing the chest to be open.

Stretching

Try not to sit at your desk all day – even getting up once an hour to take a five minute walk will help prevent you from getting stiff and sore. The common culprits for sore joints will be your neck, low back, and elbows and wrists – give them a chance to rest and stretch them out occasionally.

 

Neck:

While seated, grip the underside of the chair with one hand. Tilt your head away from the hand that is holding the chair, trying to bring your ear to your shoulder. Breathe for a count of 30 seconds. Then, maintaining the tilt and grip, turn your face towards your armpit for another count of 30. Then, still maintaining the tilt and grip, turn your face as though you are trying to look over your opposite shoulder and breathe for a count of 30 seconds. Return to neutral and repeat on the opposite side. Then, tuck your chin as though you are trying to push it into your neck without bending your head forward. Then look up at the ceiling.

 

Low back:

Stand up with your feet slightly apart. Begin by slowly rolling forward until your hands are as low as you can get them, then breathe through this position for 30 seconds. Slowly return to an upright position. Slowly lean back and push your hips out (be careful not to unbalance yourself!). Hold for 30 seconds. Then, cross your right foot over your left foot, reach your right arm as high into the air as you can, and lead with your hand to lean to the left for 30 seconds. Return to an upright position and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Wrists and elbows:

Keeping your elbows straight, start with one arm out, palm up. Use the opposite hand to push the hand back so that the fingers are pointing towards the floor. Then turn your arm so that the back of the hand is up, elbow straight, and use the opposite hand to push the fingers towards the floor. (If you need more of a stretch, curl your fingers.) Repeat on the opposite side.

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