Recently many people have made massive changes to how they work.
Think of teachers. Before the Corona virus many might prepare their lessons at home and then spend the actual class time constantly moving. They might do some ‘chalk and talk’ and then wander the classroom answering questions, helping individual students with the material and their interactions with others.
All of this changed when the schools closed and education had to be delivered online. Firstly teachers had to spend hours at their computers preparing the material for distance education. Then spend the entire class time stuck at the computer presenting material, answering individual student emails and trying to ensure all were engaged. Followed by more hours planning the next day’s lessons. (They have really done a wonderful job!)
All the little incidental movements; the walking around, bending, reaching and changing direction that made up their usual daily routine had effectively been removed. All the opportunities to refresh muscles and keep their physical body comfortable were withdrawn.
Teachers aren’t the only group to be physically challenged like this. While some people might struggle with poorly setup workplaces at home many more are feeling back, neck pain and stiffness simply because they have stopped moving.
Pre-pandemic and most people would spend some time getting to work. There would be the daily ritual of putting on work clothes; where you gently reach and bend and twist. Then some walking to the car or public transport followed by more walking or perhaps some stairs to get to the office. You might have to walk about to speak with a colleague, or go out and get some supplies. Each of those little interruptions demands physical activity, which soothes our muscles, joints and nervous system.
During the lockdown some people go straight from bed to breakfast to work without changing clothes or stepping out of the house. Many spend more time at the computer than before. All the little unplanned opportunities to stretch, wriggle and prepare their body have gone leaving them achy and sore.
There are many older people similarly affected. Less going out, fewer visitors and social isolation has left them in much the same condition.
The single most effective thing we can all do to relieve our physical aches and pains is to start moving again.
Here’s a to-do list to help you take back control.
- Schedule some physical activity into each and every day and stick to it. You don’t have to be perfect you just have to move.
- Get up and get dressed each morning.
- If able go for a walk each day and get some sunshine. If you have a garden then do some work in it.
- If isolating do laps around the room, or go up and down stairs. When getting off the chair focus on using your buttock muscles. If alone then dance about to you favourite music or practice silly walks.
- Find ways to move. Shift your phone and stand up to answer calls. Work your muscles by pushing or pulling against a solid resistance.
- Rethink your daily activities – turn home cleaning into a stretching class, vacuuming becomes gentle lunges and a leg workout.
- Move about while sitting. Use a Back Vitalizer cushion to gently mobilize your spine while allowing your back muscles to tighten and relax.
- If you are prone to neck, shoulder and upper back tension then use a PosturePole and practice breathing exercises. Reach up overhead as if climbing an imaginary rope ladder.
The goal here is to soothe, prevent stiffness and make more comfortable. If you want to become physically stronger over this time you could do that too. Try some body weight exercises, at home gym equipment or follow an online exercise program.
These difficult times will pass and if we keep moving we will get through it more comfortably.