Sara Tanza PT, DPT is the VP of She.Is.Beautiful and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. She has a passion for helping people feel better in their bodies. Below she shares her top tips for staying healthy when working from home.
While working from home has it’s own challenges, a huge benefit (besides wearing extra comfy outfits) is that you likely have more room for movement throughout your day. As a physical therapist, many patients ask me for the “best way to sit” while they are working or if they should stand rather than sit. While there are many ways to improve the way they sit or stand , my best advice is that you should change positions every 20 minutes or at least once an hour, as well as getting up to walk around every hour ( check out this post here about different sitting positions for working at home). Another thing I recommend my clients doing is to incorporate stretches that help to lengthen muscles that have been hanging out in a shortened position as you have been working. Below are my top three stretches to do throughout your workday and why each is important.
Front of Hip Opener
Why this is important: One major downer of sitting is that your hip flexors are hanging out in a shortened position, which can lead to sensations of “tightness”. Since some of these muscles start on the front of your spine (hello psoas!), this can also lead to discomfort in your back as well. Finally, when your hip doesn’t have a chance to fully stretch out, your butt muscles cannot work to their full potential.
How to do it: Kneel with one foot in front of you in a kneeling “lunge” position as shown. Shift your weight backwards and tuck your tailbone under (this will keep the stretch in your hip flexor region and prevent it from going into your spine).
Keeping your pelvis tucked, shift your weight forward onto your front leg and enjoy the stretch on the front of your hip. Reach your arm on the same side up to deepen the stretch. Hold 30-60 seconds and switch to the other leg. Do 1-2 more sets on each side.
Back of Leg Opener
Why this is important: When we are sitting for long periods of time, our pelvis region tends to tuck under and our knees are usually bent. This puts our hamstrings (along with other nerves, muscles and soft tissues in the back of our legs) into a shortened position. This can lead to decreased mobility through our hips, which has the potential to stress the back and other surrounding areas. Keeping mobility through the back of our legs throughout the day doesn’t take long and has huge benefits!
How to do it: Stand with weight equal between the ball of foot and the heel. Squat down and rest your elbows on your knees.
Slightly arch your low back by relaxing your low belly and picture your tail bone coming UP to the sky. Keeping your body weight over your whole foot, bring your butt bones up towards the ceiling, straightening your knees.
Let your hands fall towards the ground and let your head relax down.
Bring your elbows back to your knees and drop your butt back down until you are in the original squat position you started in. Repeat 3-10 times and then rest. Do 1-2 more sets
Squat with Arms up the Door
Why this is important: As we sit all day, our chests close down, our upper backs slump and our butt muscles turn off. This can lead to pain in so many places in our bodies.
How to do it: Stand close to a wall or in a doorway. Reach your arms up into a V shape with your palms facing each other and your chin slightly tucked down towards your chest.
Squat down, making sure to keep your bodyweight equal between your heels and the balls of your feet. Enjoy the stretch through your chest with the activation of your upper back and leg muscles! Hold until you are tired, rest and then do 1-2 more sets.
Hope you learned something new today that you can take into your #WFH life. We want to see how you are working differently! Tag @runsheisbeautiful in your pictures to share.