Working from home increases your health in lots of ways. You are more likely to cook yourself a healthy meal than get takeout or whatever someone has brought into the break room. You have more freedom of movement, which means you may be more likely to walk around and stretch during the day. However, there are also some ergonomic downsides to working from home.
These stretches can keep you much healthier and make you more comfortable when you are working at home.
Why Stretches are Important for At-Home Workers
Your home work station may not be as ergonomic as your desk at work. You may not tend to move around as much at home as you do at work since your meetings, socialization, and everything else can all take place in front of your computer screen.
For these reasons, stretches are extremely important for at-home workers. It is essential that you stretch every part of your body, from lower, upper, and mid-back stretches, to your arms, legs, and neck. You may not realize how stiff you are becoming or how you may be pushing your body in unnatural ways until you take the opportunity to stretch the way you should.
8 Full Body Stretches Perfect for People Who are Working From Home
- While seated, lift your arms over your head
- Grab one elbow with the other hand and stretch it to the side
- Bend your body at the waist in the same direction as you are pulling your arm
- Switch sides and repeat
- Sit down and hold the seat lightly with your hands at your sides
- Starting with your chin at your chest, gently roll your head to one side and let it rest on your shoulder
- Don’t put pressure on your head or raise your shoulder to meet your head
3. Upper Body
- Start by either sitting or standing
- Lift your arms over your head, holding the back of one hand with the palm of the other
- Raise your arms at the shoulder, boosting your entire upper body
- Start by either standing or sitting
- Interlock your fingers and stretch your arms out behind you
- Press your shoulder blades together as if trying to squish a ball between them
- While seated, grab the back of the chair with one hand and twist your body
- Use your other hand to apply pressure to your knee to intensify the stretch
- Rock slightly into the stretch to deepen it
6. Hip and Knee
- Sit down and lift one leg up towards your torso
- Grasp your knee with both hands and pull it towards your chest
- Switch legs and repeat
- While standing or sitting, keep your legs straight but not locked
- Stretch your hands towards your toes as far as you can, keeping your back relatively straight
- Rock slightly into the stretch until you can feel it in your hamstrings
- While standing, reach your leg behind you, keeping your back and the other leg straight
- Grab your ankle with your hand on the same side as the leg that is bent and pull it up towards your behind
- Switch and repeat with the other leg
How Often Should You Stretch?
You may think to stretch first thing in the morning or after exercising at the end of the day, but how often should you really take breaks from your desk to stretch? Ideally, you will move around and stretch a little bit every 40 minutes or so. Stretching at least this often gets fluid back into the discs in your back and reduces the possibility of compressed discs and the back pain and nerve issues that may result.
You don’t have to do every stretch in this list every 40 minutes. A stretch or two is sufficient. However, it is a good idea to work all of these stretches into every workday.
As you’re getting used to it, it may seem like a lot of effort, but once you get the hang of it, you will likely be very pleased with how much better you feel.
Ideas to be Healthier as a Stay-At-Home Warrior
Stretches aren’t the only way to increase your health when you are working from home, although they are one of the most important. Here are a few other ideas you may want to try out:
- Consider a standing desk. Standing desks come with considerable health benefits when paired with using a sitting desk throughout the day. The trick is not to exclusively stand, but to alternate standing and sitting.
- Exercise throughout the day. Rather than pushing exercise into one hard workout that you may be tempted to skip at the end of the day, consider exercising throughout your workday in 15 to 20-minute increments.
- Eat fresh foods. It can be a pain to transport salads and fruits to work, store them, and find time to eat them. However, at home, you don’t have the same restrictions. Take advantage of the opportunity to eat fresh.
Stay Healthy at Home With Daily Stretches
Working at home doesn’t have to mean that your back and muscle suffer. Stretch regularly throughout the day to keep yourself more flexible and you may feel better working at home than you ever did at work.