Tag Archives: Back care

Top tips for preventing back pain in the workplace

It’s reported that 3 out of 4 people have back pain in their lives and 85% of those are undiagoned, meaning there is no specific medical reason why.
SO WHY?!

chained to the desk

Do you ever feel like you’re chained to the office desk?

Considering how much of your day is spent at work, you’re probably right for thinking so! Plus it’s reported 4 out 5 British workers eat their lunch at the desk so we really are chaining ourselves to the desk!

The office environment presents all sorts of physical stresses on the body.   Monitors too low for your eye-line, chairs too high or too low, phones stuck between the ear and shoulder, RSI and shoulder strain from repetitive typing without correct support, wrong lighting causing eye strain…. shall we go on?!

But one of the biggest problems we face is sitting down all day, and lets face it, most of us leave work and go home to sit all evening on the sofa! This long period of inactivity causes the spine to:

  • Slouch and gradually compress against gravity
  • Adds strain to the lower back
  • Forces the mid back to overly round and tighten the chest and weaken the back support muscles
  • Pushes the head further further, adding to neck strain, headaches and increasing load added onto the spine.
  • Shortens and tightens hip flexors
  • Weakens the important abdominal core muscles
  • Reduces space for the vital organs

So what’s the solution?

I quit quit1

Ok, maybe not! But thankfully it is possible to make a few changes that will reduce the time and how you sit at your desk and improve your back pain.

  • Swop your chair for a stability ball. Posture is greatly increased by working your core stabilising and back muscles as you sit on a ball, as well as been shown to lead to better circulation, upper body mobility and less beck and joint pain.
  • Get a raised desk and do away with the chair at all! LinkedIn staff did this and saw a 50% reduction in back pain from not sitting down!
  • Ensure typing is done with wrist support resting on the desk. Awkward positions when typing can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Get a hands free set for your desk phone. No more holding the phone between your ear and shoulder which causes neck and shoulder pain. Plus hands free means you can stand up and walk around more so less time sitting down.
  • Get a grip!  We’re losing our grip power as most things we do is by finger touch. Building up grip strength by making and tightening a fist (without tightening your shoulder and neck) will exercise the forearm and the small muscles in the hands, reduce the effects of typing RSI  and carpal tunnel syndrome and give you great toned triceps too!
  • Wiggle at your desk. if sitting still is the enemy, then have a little wiggle. Circle your ankles, flex and point the toes for improved circulation- do the same in the wrists. Stretch your neck by tipping your ear to your shoulder, circle your shoulders, lift your chest up to the sky and lengthen your spine, circle your pelvis like a clock to move the lower back.
  • Counter balance the effects of desk working by doing some Pilates regularly. Move well every day with some forward bending, side bending, twisting and back bending/extension will go a long way to helping to reduce the effects of sitting down all day.
  • Make the tea! Getting the teas/coffees in for your team will not only get you out of the chair and moving your spine but it’ll also make you more popular too! We suggest you use the handy colour chart to get the right strength of your colleagues favourite brew… mine’s a Builders Brew!

what's your strength brew?

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Written by: Michelle Smith
Director, The Pilates Pod
www.thepilatespod.co.uk

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You’re doing great, now – keep it going

So, we’re just over three weeks into January, and the excesses of Christmas and the New Year are but a dim and distant memory as we plough head-long into 2015. Here at The Pilates Pod, January is always a very busy month, with lots of new people using the new year as inspiration to try something new and make changes to their lifestyle. We also always look forward to welcoming back our regular clients, many of whom take a well earned rest over the festive season.

When Michelle and I first came up with the idea of opening a studio, we spent quite a long time thinking about how it should feel to come to the Pod. Obviously, we wanted people to feel that they had enjoyed a thorough, and rewarding Pilates workout. But more than that, it was important to us that the experience of becoming a client of The Pilates Pod was an enjoyable and rewarding one in itself.

I’ve never been a ‘gym-bunny’ kind of person. I’ve been a member of a gym on a couple of occasions, gone hell-for-leather for a few weeks before missing a session then bit by bit losing motivation. Personally, I always found the gym to be a rather intimidating experience and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. So when we set about creating the Pod, we had it at the front of our minds that we wanted the Pod to be a warm, welcoming and fun place where people who maybe weren’t into the gym, would feel more at home and hopefully more motivated to establish a regular exercise routine.

So far this year, we’ve been delighted to see so many of our classes being so well attended. Just taking a look down the schedule, we’re regularly seeing 7 or 8 people in a class (8’s our maximum don’t forget!), and our Intro Courses in January have been filling up to. It’s a great sign that people are understanding the benefits that Pilates can bring to them, and we also take it as a compliment that we’re getting things right.

The Pilates Pod Matwork Class
A matwork class in full flow at the Pod

But we also know that keeping up with something new can be difficult. Life can get in the way, coughs and colds are only too common in January and February and sometimes by missing a session here or there, it’s easy to fall out of the habit. Apparently it takes 21 days to form a routine that sticks, so it’s really important to KEEP GOING. Because once you’ve formed a regular habit of coming to classes or 1:1s, you’ll really start to feel the benefit on and off of the mat. You’ll meet new, friendly people, learn some new techniques and start to feel like a stronger, leaner and taller version of yourself with every session.

Don’t let yourself get bored either – mix things up with a different class or time, maybe try a twin reformer class or an equipment class for a bit of variety – it’s the spice of life y’know.

Anyway. Well done you. You really are doing great – now, keep it going. And if you haven’t started yet, there’s no time like the present.

Cheers. Ed x

Ed Smith is the quiet director at The Pilates Pod
You can follow him on twitter @ed_p0d