Looking after yourself in the work place

Working at a desk for a prolonged period, often a necessity for many of us at work, can put your body at risk of pain and injury. This can cause lots of problems such as; repetitive strain injury, carpel tunnel syndrome, bad posture, tennis elbow, localised and global stiffness as well as tension. Staring at a computer for hours on end can affect your energy levels, cause a loss in concentration and can often leave you feeling irritable and sluggish.

So what can you do?

In this series Trinity Laban Health will provide you with some top tips and a range of stretches you can do at your desk to help stave off those aches and pains.

This month’s top tips:

  • Take regular breaks – throughout the day you should take time away from your desk to help those tight muscles relax.
  • Stand up or take a walk – standing up at least once an hour will help improve your concentration and help to prevent pain or discomfort in your muscles and joints. If you need to talk to a colleague stand up and talk to them at their desk/ in their office instead of a phone call or through email communication.
  • Drink plenty of water – this will keep you hydrated and feeling refreshed in order for you to function clearly and perform to the best of your ability. Dehydration, however slight, can lead to a loss in concentration, cause fatigue, migraines and leave you with a sluggish feeling. Also remember drinking multiple cups of tea and coffee a day is not replacing the natural water we lose in the body, this can also lead to dehydration.
  • Keep in mind your posture – making sure you are in the correct alignment will help reduce any tight muscles in your body.  If you slouch your muscles will actually need to work harder. Your head is forced forwards and out of alignment causing your muscles to become overworked just to keep your head up. Staying  in a slouched position can lead to on-going tension in your shoulders, neck and puts a lot of pressure on your spine. While you sit at your desk remember to regularly check you are sitting in an upright position.
  • Add in regular stretch breaks to relieve tightness and tension in the body.

Posture

So how can you ensure you have the correct posture?

  • You should sit with your bottom at the back of your seat and rest against the back of your chair for support
  • Place your forearms on your desk with your elbows at a 90 degree angle
  • Relax your shoulders, don’t allow them to rise or hunch.
  • Make sure both of your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are level with your hips
  • Adjust your chair so you are not looking up or down at your computer. Make sure you use a footstool, wrist rest, a memory foam mouse mat with a built-in wrist rest, or any other support, if needed.
  • Keep your head tall and upright.
  • If you are worried, or experiencing any discomfort or pain at work due to your chair, desk, or the height of the  computer make sure you speak to your employer to arrange a risk assessment.

In the next instalment we will be providing some more top tips and stretch routines.

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