The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our way of life – students are attending school online; many are working remotely from home. Additionally, less social outings have led to an increase in overall screen time. Poor posture and decondition of you back muscles have likely followed suit. Back pain that arises can be increased by other pandemic-associated risk factors: emotional stress, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating. Here are four tips to improve your spine health:
1) GET UP!
We have all been the victim of an increase in sedentary activity during winter and the pandemic. Increasing your activity levels can help increase the strength of the muscle that support your spine. Going for a walk outside can go a long way towards improving back pain and preventing recurrence of back pain.
2) SIT DOWN!
While working/learning on a computer, it is important to have proper posture to avoid unnatural body positions which can contribute to back pain. We spend a large amount of time at our workspaces. Your workspace consists of a well-padded chair with your feet planted on the ground. Your screen should be positioned on a table at eye-level so you do not have to “bend” your body and expend extra energy. I recommend avoiding working/learning on the couch or while lying down in bed. This can be a perfect recipe for neck and back pain!
3) STRETCH IT OUT!
Activity and proper posture are not enough to optimize your spine health. It is important to incorporate a regular stretching and exercise routine in order to strengthen the muscles that support your back. Yoga and core exercises are perfect.
4) TAKE A BREAK!
It is easy for time to escape us during long sessions of remote learning and working. It is important to take a break to refresh your mind and improve focus. Removing yourself from your workstation is also a good time to check in with your body. Assess if your posture is optimal. Do a few stretches. You will find that taking brief, regular break will increase your work efficiency and endurance!