The end of the financial year signals longer hours in the office for many people. In these winter months it is harder to stay healthy when working hours and stress levels increase. Liz Edlin has teamed up with Talking Lifestyle Radio on 1278AM to chat with Ed Philips about how we can keep on top of our health and wellbeing during these cold stressful months! Listen to the show linked in this article or read up on Liz's top tips here!!
How Can You Ensure Office Health All Year Long?
Exercise is key!
Many studies have shown that short bursts of regular, medium to high intensity exercise increase the protein Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which is key for cognitive function.
A 30 minute workout at lunchtime can improve your concentration levels in the afternoon and help you tackle those spreadsheets and documents with increased efficiency.
Using a sit-stand workstation, alternating between sitting and standing throughout your day has been shown to decrease neck and shoulder pain. Studies have shown improved ability to use a mouse in standing, compared to sitting.
Current recommendations are to stand for 4 hours a day, divided into 30 minute blocks, with sitting in between.
Which chair is right for me?
When sitting, it is important that you are well supported and maintained in a good posture. Sitting on exercise balls was consider a good option as it increased your core muscle recruitment. You can still slouch on an exercise ball, so leave for your gym workout. Instead use a supportive, adjustable office chair when sitting and stand regularly throughout your day.
Kneeling chairs work really well for some people, but do increase the pressure on knees and thighs, so should be used intermittently with standing or a more supported office chair.
To find the right chair for you, head along to a ergonomic seating specialist and test the chairs to find the right fit for you.
My office is my car/truck, what can I do to improve my office health?
People spend hours in their vehicles each day commuting to work as well as their vehicle being their office. A comfortable car seat is key. Ensure the backrest is adjusted so that your lower back is supported. If you are experiencing tightness at the front of the hips or lower back pain or stiffness, try elevation the seat base or sitting on a folded towel or cushion to open the hips further.
Get out of the vehicle to walk and change position every 1-2 hours.
A simple way to relieve upper back and neck tightness?
We all spend too many hours hunched over a computer, mobile phone, tablet and steering wheel. Upper back and neck stiffness and pain is very common as our heads creep further forward.
A simple and effective way to reduce the muscle tightness and tension is to spend 5-10 minutes lying on a foam roller or rolled towel.
Then strengthen your muscles so that you can maintain a good posture, no matter your working hours.
NEUTRAL SPINE POSITION (FOAM ROLLER)
- Lie along the length of the foam roller with your head and tailbone supported on the roller
- Have your knees bent up with feet hip width apart
- You should be looking straight towards the ceiling
- Have arms resting on the floor at your side with palms towards the ceiling
- Allow your shoulders to relax back towards the floor
- Rest in this position for 5-10 minutes
THORACIC TOWEL STRETCH (LENGTHWAYS)
- Fold a towel in half lengthways and then roll lengthways
- Place the rolled towel on the floor with pillows (1 or 2) at one end
- Lie with the towel along the length of your spine from base of neck to your tailbone, between shoulder blades
- Rest your head on the pillows so that your head is in line with your body
- Knees bent to reduce pressure on your lower back
- Relax your arms at your side with your palms towards the ceiling to open your shoulders
Want to hear more from Liz?
Listen HERE for Liz Edlins live segment last week on Talking Lifestyle with Ed Philips! Liz will be making a guest appearance at 1pm fortnightly so tune in to 1278AM!