Many people are working from home and experiencing an increase in neck and back pain discomfort. The transition from working 8 hour workdays in a properly set up work office environment, to a home workspace that wasn’t originally set up to support a good posture. It is important that you set up your computer workstation properly in order to reduce the stress put on your neck and back. Check out our post about “How to set up your computer home office”. In this post we want to share the best stretches for working at home.
Taking frequent postural stretch breaks when working from is one of the best things you can do to reduce the stress and strain on your body and decrease pain and discomfort. Even in the best workstation set-up it is recommended that people take a quick stretch break every hour. Often our home workstation set-ups may not be able to provide the ideal support, so it is recommended to take the stretch break about every 20-30 minutes.
But why stretch? The importance of stretching comes from encouraging good blood flow. When people sit or stand for long periods of time without movement the blood flow is reduced to the tissues that are holding the posture. Most people have experienced a long plane flight or car drive without getting up out of their seat and the first thing they naturally do when getting up is stretch. This is a built in mechanism in most animals that you see daily in your pets too. The stretch is the body’s way of preparing itself for movement, because the prolonged static postures impact on blood flow has increased stiffness in the muscle tissue. We experience this same problem when sitting or standing at a computer workstation. It mainly affects our neck, shoulders, chest and forearm muscles. The more static stress and strain we put on these muscles, the more frequently we need to take the stretch break to increase blood flow.
What are the best stretches for working at home?
With the primary muscles involved in supporting a computer workstation posture being the neck, shoulders, chest an forearms, the stretches should be designed to target these muscles. The stretch break doesn’t need to take a long time, in fact, it only takes about 2 minutes to complete the stretches. Watch our video to learn what stretches to do and how to do them. We have also included a Stretch Sheet that you can print and refer to at home or work.