Before I became a Pilates instructor I worked in an office for 4+ years. I worked in customer service which meant answering emails and phones, entering paint orders for our customers, etc. I started Pilates to help a nagging knee pain I had from running. Little did I know, Pilates would help open my chest from all that computer work and strengthen my shoulders!
When we talk about core strength it’s easy to think it’s just the abdominals. I like to say it’s your lips to hips. The truth is core strength entails the muscles from your shoulders down to all the ones in your hips. Our core houses our organs which are very important to keep us going and healthy. The organs are meant to be stacked upright so they can function properly. The effects of slouching put added pressure on the organs. It’s like taking a fluffy pillow and stacking heavy weights on it. The pillow will sag and flatten out.
I promise I’m not telling you this to scare you! That image is unhappy and there are ways to change it! I know you’re not intentionally making your organs scrunched. But first, why do we care about our organs?
Well, they help us digest, breathe, and function. If they get disrupted it brings unease to our bodies. And no one wants that!
So there are a couple of ways you can keep your organs happy and healthy plus relieve any shoulder tension you have from all those Zoom days.
The first thing to consider is the height of your computer, keyboard, and chair. When sitting at your desk your computer screen should be at eye level. Sit in your chair on top of your sit bones. These are the bones you feel when sitting on a hard surface.
Take breaks from your computer. Now if you’re a teacher I know this is unlikely but even if you get 5 minutes between classes, stand up and stretch! If you are working from home set a timer every 30-90 minutes and get up to walk around the house. Get creative and fill up your glass half full of water so you refill it more often.
While working on the computer consider how your eyes are focusing. Is your chin raised with your eyes looking down? This means your neck is in extension and after a long period of time, it strains your neck. It also takes the spine out of its natural alignment. Drop your chin down a little to look straight ahead rather than down.
The first office I worked in after college had ergonomic work stations. The desk was at standing height and we had stools to sit on. I was so excited! Turns out that was our office for 2 weeks in Wisconsin before we started work in Ohio. We weren’t able to take our standing desks with us and I was so sad!
There are options for you to have a standing desk at work and a lot of employers will happily pay for them! When I started teaching online last year I wanted to stand while teaching so Mike and I created a corner shelf to rest my laptop. It was a great solution!
Lastly, I have two videos to help you with prolonged periods of sitting and computer work! The first one is a sitting video. You can do this one while at your desk. The movements are simple and easy.
While working in an office and doing Pilates on a regular basis I found myself wanting to move and stretch more. But I wanted to do movements in my cubicle that wouldn’t bother my cube mates. These movements will keep you from disturbing others while looking natural. You’ll know you’re doing something good for your body!
The second video is one to do at home after work. It relieves the tension in our shoulders from computer work, cell phones, and driving. I know these are part of our daily lives and I want to make things easier for you and your body.
For this video, you’ll need a set of orange Franklin balls. These balls are my favorite prop during Pilates. It’s like a massage on your body each time you use them. They are soft and pliable allowing your muscles to release easily. Afterward, your shoulders will feel relaxed!
You can also schedule your own private session and we’ll focus on your individual needs!
Did you find this blog post helpful? Let me know in the comments!