With more people stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, physical therapist Ken Bruno of the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network says you’ll need to make some adjustments to your new work conditions.
Here’s a edited interview with WFSB, Channel 3:
Q. What are your tips to avoid strain from sitting and using the computer all day, which is what so many of us are forced to do?
A. It’s a real challenge. A lot of people are resigned to sitting at their dining room tables or on the couch with their laptops, cramped forward. It’s not your ideal desk situation, like many of have at our jobs. The idea that we try to relay to our patients is taking frequent breaks, getting up and moving around usually every half hour to 45 minutes. Or if you need to get up sooner, do that. But you need to break that habit of being in that forward, crouch position for too long. It’s very unhealthy.
Q. How can being sedentary impact our health?
A. Any of the those chronic diseases that we see like cardiovascular health, any sort of musculoskeletal issues are areas that will be exacerbated if you are chronically stationary. As you see people being less and less mobile during their time being quarantined and as they’re staying at home and working from the house it becomes more of a problem. People who are in sedentary jobs generally now are even less mobile because they’re at home, so it just makes it that much worse.
Q. We do have different habits when we work at home that are a problem, right?
A. Usually when we’re at the office we’ll get up, we’ll go talk to a colleague, go use the copier or maybe go to a meeting. There’s a lot more moving around during the day than when we’re sitting at our house. It’s really cut down on a lot of people’s activity that they don’t really notice.
Q. Maybe it’s a good time to wear a pedometer or check your phone to see how you’re moving. But how can we be more active while working from home?
A. We like to recommend frequent breaks. If you have an opportunity, set a little alarm on your computer or your watch or your phone to get up and move around. Do a little bit of a walk, a quick little up-and-down the stairs — those sorts of things to try to keep yourself active.
Also, when you’re talking about being over a computer and strained so much that your neck and shoulders really can get tight. We want to have people take basically what we call the 20-20-20.
Every 20 minutes, sit up straight, look up and try to focus on something 20 feet away and for about 20 seconds see if you can regulate your eyes and get yourself reorganized a little bit so you don’t looking so close-up at that screen. It gives you a chance to break that posture and that sequence for a little bit.
For more tips and ideas on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, follow Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network on Facebook and Instagram at @boneandjointinmotion.
Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.
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