Why Pilates? Is flexible working making you less flexible?

Updated: May 26, 2020

#workingfromhome #deskpilates #deskworkout #neckandbackpain

What the NHS say about Pilates:

Regular Pilates practice can help with posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility. It can also relieve stress and tension.”

Lockdown is already causing issues for home workers: My approach is to take Pilates out of the gym and into the office. With a carefully choreographed series of targeted movements at and around your desk, you can both improve your physical comfort immediately and prevent further aches and pains from occurring.

I’ve designed Pilates While You Work to slot seamlessly into your working day, so no need to don your gym kit, roll out a mat or even leave the room. Just kick back, relax and take a few minutes to stretch and release.

Since Covid-19, thousands of us are now working from home, but is flexible working making you less flexible?

You may not yet realise that working from home means working in a very different way from the one you’re used to – one that’s potentially going to store up problems for the future and is possibly already causing you harm.

There’s no shortage of advice on the relevant government website, on how to ensure that you comply with the DSE (Display Screen Equipment) regulations, but your workstation at home is probably far removed from your office set-up. Given the current situation, the need to ‘socially distance’ and the huge number of people involved, it’s fairly unlikely your employer is going to do a full risk assessment, provide you with the equipment you need, or worry unduly about the comfort of your working environment.

And according to a recent survey commissioned by Lloyds Bank, it’s a mistake to imagine that the newly expanded home-based workforce has a purpose-designed office at their disposal. If you’re perched on the breakfast bar or camping out on the sofa, you’re unlikely to be enjoying the benefits of an ergonomic chair, desk, keyboard or computer monitor. At least two thirds of us have had to carve our niche in the living room, dining room, bedroom or kitchen, where other family members also hold a competitive stake in terms of both space and airtime.

It’s far from ideal, but despite the discomfort, we are heroically soldiering on and even spending longer ‘in the office’ than we did pre-Covid. Perhaps due to the scourge of ‘presenteeism’, a desire to prove productivity, or simply the fact that we ‘clock in’ at the time we’d normally have started the commute (rather than the time we actually turned on our computers) the figures show that we’re investing, on average, an additional two hours a day at work.

So, in short, we’re spending a significantly extended working day in a makeshift office in which we’re far more likely to adopt awkward, static postures, which quickly develop into discomfort.

Slouching, hunching, over-extending your wrists, or simply sitting too long without changing position, moving or stretching, will put extra physical stress on your body in ways you won’t immediately notice. But you will with time without targeted extension exercises to counteract the damaging effects of all that curved spine sitting.

So what can you do to avoid musculoskeletal injury and optimise your desk-top comfort?

Here are seven top tips to keep you sane and supple:

Try and keep to your original office hours and take a proper lunch break.

Open a window for some fresh air.

Get up and take a micro-break at least once an hour. Use a free app like ‘StandUp! The Work Break Timer’, Time Out or Eye Care Plus to remind you.

Keep hydrated with a drinking bottle of water or low-sugar squash always at hand.

Remember to blink!

Feeling peckish? A slow burn, high energy, low-sugar snack like oatcakes will keep you away from the biscuit tin.

Is your work area well lit? Maybe it’s time to invest in a new lighting system to protect your eyes and minimise eye-fatigue.

Try some Studio Fluid Pilates While You Work - a quick and simple programme of gentle remedial movements at your desk to offset and alleviate the strain of the lockdown working day.

See you on the mat or at your desk..

Rosie (Studio Fluid founder and instructor)

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