Working from home – why am I so tight all the time?
Hands up for those of you who initially enjoyed working from home during this pandemic?! There are definitely some positives; no more commuting, more flexibility, extra time to be outdoors, less money spent on coffees and lunches, and the only wardrobe required is active wear.
Then, we started to hear a common theme; increasing work demands, increased stress with home-schooling children, long work days, and less time to exercise. What seemed ideal suddenly turned into one looooong day with no breaks – on repeat.
The most common physical complaint we hear from clients is an increase in global body stiffness and tightness. Initially, poor work ergonomics were likely to blame, but since you’ve all been WFH for a period of time now, the majority of you have adjusted your work set up to suit your space at home. However, some people have found that their tightness hasn’t subsided……so what’s the big thing that you might still be missing?
Remember your walk to and from the train? Getting up from your desk to speak to a colleague? Walking to meetings and heading out for a coffee or lunch? Yep, you got it – it’s the little bits and pieces of movement, that incidental exercise you never realised you were getting. This movement, little and often, keeps your blood pumping through your tissues, it allows them to contract and relax more often, lengthen and shorten – essentially do all the things that muscles and tissues love to do.
Unfortunately, this loss of incidental movement is having a profound impact on how people feel throughout their entire body. Being stuck in a sedentary, seated position for long periods of time can place strain on your tissues, causing muscular fatigue, increased tension and over time shortening some muscles while lengthening others. All of this may lead to tightness, pain, weakness and a restriction in mobility.
MOVE MORE OFTEN……..our bodies love to move, and little and often can be most beneficial.
- Why not stand or head out for a walk during phone calls
- Take a break from sitting every hour (more often if possible)
- Take short stretching breaks (can be as little as 2-3mins)
- Try to mimic your previous routine, e.g a 10min walk in the morning, a 10-20min walk at lunch, end of day exercise or movement + frequent movement throughout your day
- Focus on moving your key areas
One common area of tightness that affects everyone who finds themselves sitting a lot is the hip region. Often, people will feel tight through their hip flexors, hamstrings and glutes and in turn, this may even impact the lower back. So, if you’re looking for ways to relieve your hip tension and tightness and want a few new stretches to add to your repertoire, give this short and sweet hip mobility session a go.
Written by Physiotherapist Ni’ia Jones