Try These Posture, Stretching and Exercise Tips While You’re Teleworking

May 12, 2020

Are you working from home in a makeshift office? Your home office setup is vital to ensure comfort and reduce risk of injury, but proper posture, breaks, stretches and exercise are just as important, too.

The following are tips and exercises to keep you in good health and avoid pains or strains while you telework.

(Note: If you are experiencing pains or strains while teleworking, Good Shepherd can help. Call 1-888-44-REHAB for an initial evaluation or request a virtual visit through our video telehealth services.)

Use Structured Breaks

Structured breaks throughout your day help keep you physically and mentally active. Breaks also reduce the risk of posture-related injuries.

If sitting, stand up every 30 minutes for a brief (30 seconds to one minute) stretch, walk or stand. If standing, try to sit down every 60 minutes for one to two minutes.

Every two hours, take a few laps around your home. You also can take an extended 10-minute break away from your home office to help maintain your focus.

Watch Your Posture

While working at your desk, keep your head in line with your shoulders and your shoulders in line with your hips. Naturally, there are forward and backward curves to the spine, but these three landmarks should be aligned.

Avoid rounded shoulders, forward-head or slouched posture. Resting posture should be aligned but comfortable — don’t tense up to be perfectly straight.

Exercise to Stay Flexible

All exercises should be done smoothly, slowly and pain-free. None of these exercises should hurt; if you do experience pain, stop immediately and contact your doctor or physical therapist.

Exercises may be done before or during the work day, preferably twice per day.

Neck Range of Motion

  • Flex your neck sideways, bringing your ear toward your shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
  • Rotate your head as if to look over your shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
  • Look down, bringing your chin toward your chest.
  • Then, look up toward the ceiling.
  • Repeat all these motions five times in each direction.

Neck Retractions

  • Keep your body still.
  • Keeping your gaze focused directly in front of you, pull your chin backward. Keep your chin at the same level throughout the motion — no chin nod or tilting your head backward.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Rolls

  • Roll your shoulders forward, up, then back and down in a smooth, circular motion.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Abdominal Draw

  • Squeeze your abdominals, trying to pull your belly button in towards your spine.
  • Maintain for five seconds.
  • Keep breathing; don’t hold your breath.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Ankle Pumps

  • Pump your ankles up and down, bringing your foot up toward your shin then down to point your toes away from you.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Incorporating these exercises into your telework routine will help keep you comfortable when working from home.

David Blum, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist at Good Shepherd’s Health & Technology Center in Allentown. He specializes in orthopedics including post-surgical, sports rehab and pain management.