Now that some of us have been working from home for 10 weeks, we are really starting to feel the change in our routine. Usually we would be commuting to work, doing the school run, walking round the shops or generally being out and about and keeping busy. Now that we have been double and triple thinking every journey outside our homes, our ‘unconscious’ activity level has dropped dramatically. By ‘unconscious’ I’m talking about the activities that we do day in and day out without actually thinking about it as exercise. If you track your steps, these will be the steps that you do without actively going on an extra-long walk as a top up.
Any time our activity level increases dramatically or decreases dramatically our bodies (..and minds) take time to adapt. We have all been seeing the neck and back aches creeping in as we have been sedentary at home, often cramped up working on our dining room table or on laptops on the sofa. Getting up and taking regular breaks every 30-40 mins will help the muscle fatigue, as will doing some gentle stretching a couple of times a day. Basic stretching in between sitting could be lying on your back and hugging your knees to your chest, standing tall and reaching both arms all the way to the ceiling and gently swaying your hips side to side (like you are hula hooping)
One of the challenges we face in the coming weeks and months as we start to return to our ‘normal’ activities will be remembering that we won’t be able to jump back to where we were in March in terms of fitness levels. Once you return to the gym, don’t try to do the same exercise programmes with the same levels of resistance etc, tone it down, focus on the basics before increasing back up again. This will be the same with commuting, allow yourself some extra time to get into the office or catch a train- your speed walk won’t be quite so speedy after months at home. When lifting or carrying, before lockdown you would have done certain movement patterns without thinking about it, if you haven’t done them for a couple of months it might take you a little while to get back to them, remember to love your load keeping it close to your centre of gravity and if you are carrying a rucksack, keep it as light as possible and shrug it on to both shoulders rather than swinging it (yes BOTH shoulders!)
Chiropractors are seeing that lots of people are struggling with musculoskeletal issues since lockdown started, even in people who haven’t normally had these problems, this isn’t unexpected.