Bring Health to Work with You!
Written by Erika McKaeff, RMT
Having worked in a bank for several years, I know first hand that sitting for extended periods of time can affect your mental and physical well-being in a negative way.
This —> Leads to this —->
In my career as an RMT, I see clients all the time who – though in otherwise great physical shape – experience one or more of the following symptoms after a long day of sitting at work:
- Tension Headaches or Migraines
- Insomnia caused by stress
- Repetitive/Overuse Pain such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Low back, Shoulder, and / or Neck pain
- Depression and Anxiety Disorders
- Digestive Disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Slower metabolism and weight gain
We don’t realize it, but many of these symptoms are often caused by postural imbalances and the stress that extended periods of sitting puts on our bodies.
Follow the steps below to alleviate symptoms and help reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions!
Step 1: Ensure Your Workstation Is Ergonomically Correct
- Adjust your Chair Height
- Adjust the height so your feet are flat on the floor. This will keep your knees at roughly the same height as your seat.
Elbows & Arm Position
- Keep elbows bent between 90 and 110 degrees – be careful that your elbows are not winged out and that they hang at a comfortable, fairly vertical alignment.
- Forearms should be parallel to the ground and your wrists in a neutral position.
- Place your mouse near your keyboard. This will enable you to transition between typing and using the mouse with as little effect on your arm and wrist posture as possible.
*In general, arrange items within sight and reach. Place your phone, and other frequently used items, within easy reach from where you sit. You should not need to stretch to reach these items.
Step 2: Reduce Eye Strain
Keep your monitor between 20 and 40 inches – arm’s length – away from your face, and adjust the monitor so that the center sits at eye level.
Step 3: Stay in Motion
- Every 30 minutes or so, stop typing and move around.
- Make an excuse! Go shred documents, pick up a supply, ask a question, or just say hello to a colleague.
- Otherwise, just take a deep breath, stretch, and do some range of motion exercises: roll your shoulders back, then forward, shake out your hands/wrists and move your ankles in circles.
- You can set an alarm on your computer, watch, or phone to remind you!
Step 4: Take A Break!
More technological advances allow for us to be available and reachable at all hours – day and night. Our days are hectic and demands are high. If you work in a busy setting, chances are you don’t have scheduled breaks and there is always something urgent on the table, but your health is urgent too!
The fact is, sometimes the only person who can give you a break is you.
So instead of wolfing down your lunch at your computer, head for the lunchroom or – if it’s a nice day – head outside! Taking time out to enjoy your food calmly will help reduce stress and assist your digestive system to function properly.
If you absolutely must eat at your desk, take a break once the burning emergencies have been extinguished, and go for a walk around the block.
Step Five: Make Room For Movement In Your Life!
- Get your heart rate up daily – and clear your mind – by walking 15 minutes before and after work.
- Leave your house early.
- Park a block or two away from your usual spot.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk to a coffee shop that’s further away.
- Join a Walking or Running Club, or take an exercise class, such as a local noon-yoga class.
If you follow these steps, you should see a dramatic difference in your well-being in a very short time.
Lastly, every Fall many of my clients desperately try to find appointments to match up with their busy schedules, so they can use up their benefits before the end of the year.
However, just like diet and exercise, the benefits of massage, physio or other therapies are highest when used consistently. So, if you have extended health benefits, take advantage of this gift and incorporate Massage Therapy into your health and wellness plan on a regular basis throughout the year.
Wishing you Health, Balance and Peace,
Erika McKaeff, RMT
To make an appointment with Erika McKaeff, RMT click on the link below.
Downtown Vancouver Massage Therapy Clinic
Electra Health Floor – 970 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC
Open 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm