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Working from home? Here’s how to look after your body…

The current Coronavirus crisis means working from home looks set to become the new norm- at least for the time being.  Now that most of us have swapped our desks and office chairs- which have been specifically designed for work- for the kitchen table, how can we make sure to keep our bodies healthy, fit and comfortable while living this new reality? 

1. Think ergonomics 

Optimising your working environment is key to staying productive- and protecting your body If using a computer, you should try to make sure you have a proper workstation, including a desk/ table, proper chair and the right equipment, to maintain the same level of comfort you would in the office.  Similarly, make sure you have enough light and ventilation, and that the temperature is comfortable for you.  

Even if your set up is less than ideal, there are steps you can take to minimise your risk of discomfort- both now and in the long term. Posture wise, your back should be at a 90-degree angle to your lap, (consider using a cushion to prop you up if your chairs don’t naturally support this stance,) and your screen should be at eye level. If using a laptop, consider balancing it on a stack of books or boxes to achieve the ideal height. 

If your home working set up isn’t ergonomically sound, it could let to a whole host of problems in the future, including neck, back and/ or shoulder pain, or repetitive strain injury of the hands or wrists.  

2. Don’t forget your eyes! 

Staring at a screen can play havoc on your eyes, so it’s important to look after them as much as you would any other area of your body. As well as making sure your screen is correctly positioned at a comfortable eye level, and close enough to your face that you don’t have to strain to see, you should also ensure that you are regularly giving your eyes a break from focussing on your computer. 

To maintain optimum eye health, the NHS also recommends: 

  • Pausing now and again and look into the distance or stare out of the window 
  • Blinking regularly!  
  • Stretching your head and neck 
  • Making sure your work area has enough natural light 

You can check out their detailed advice on maintaining eye health here.

3. Make sure to move 

Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle can be just as dangerous as being obese?  Research has shown that sitting all day can lead to problems for your weight, mood and brain health- and can even increase your risk of getting certain types of cancers.1 

To combat this, try to get up and move about every 25 minutes, whether it’s just for a quick stretch, a breath of fresh air, or to make a cup of tea- every move you make can help relieve your body from its sedentary slump! 

Even better, try to do some exercise in the fresh air, such as going for a walk, jog or cycle, several times a week, to give your body -and mood-a boost.  Don’t forget to massage those muscles before and after the workout. The instant warming effect of Pernaton Gel Forte (red) is beneficial for the warm-up before exercise and the instant cooling effect of Pernation Gel (blue) is perfect for the cool-down. 

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