Workplace habits – why you need them for good health

Everyone who works in an office often knows to regularly move, take breaks and stretch throughout the day. However, many of us are guilty of not doing this.

It’s not unknown that sitting for over 8 hours a day can lead to poor posture, muscle aches and ongoing pain in the shoulders, back and neck. That’s why, setting your desk up to be ergonomically friendly is essential to your health and wellbeing. From setting your screen about an arm’s length away to keeping your screens at eye level, these changes can improve your muscles and joint health, dramatically.

However, while you can change your workplace to become more ergonomically friendly, changing your daily habits are the key to improving your overall health and wellbeing. Our daily habits often contribute to the pain and discomfort we experience throughout the day. With that in mind, here are a few workplace habits you should adopt to support your ergonomically friendly office setup.

Set reminders to move 

Setting reminders throughout the day to complete deskercise is an effective way to ensure that you achieve them. Deskercise is the stretches and exercises you can complete at your desk to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Deskercise such as neck stretches, wrist movements and shoulder shrugs are perfect to add to your daily routine while sitting at your desk.

Stretching and moving frequently allows your muscles to maintain blood flow throughout the day. If you don’t have time to stretch, find a good reason to get up from your desk. Grab a cup of coffee or take a lap around the room.

Adopt the 20 – 20 –20 rule 

Regardless of your workplace setup, using laptops and technology is unavoidable, especially in today’s society. Over time, our eyes often take a toll and can result in a range of headaches that can be drilling and painful. The 20-20-20 rule involves looking away every 20 minutes at an object that’s about 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to take a break and relax from the consistent blue light from your screens.

Don’t eat at your desk 

While you can set up your desk to be ergonomically successful, moving throughout the day is one of the most effective methods to avoid soft tissues strains. As many of us eat at our desks, it’s important to stop this habit for both your physical and mental wellbeing. On your lunch break, aim to go outside to allow your body and muscles to move.

Take the stairs

Choosing to take the stairs at work is an easy, healthy habit swap that can help strengthen your muscles. While taking the stairs may not seem like a major change, moving your body throughout the day will significantly improve your muscular and cardio fitness.

Place both feet flat on the ground

Crossing your legs under your desk often plays a significant role in our posture at our desks. This often results in discomfort and pain in the hips, shoulders and back as the body is not correctly aligned. To ensure that your weight is distrusted evenly on both hips, place both feet flat on the ground and keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

If you’re feeling the effects of your desk job and continue to have pain and discomfort, talk to the Progressive Physio team. Our team can assess your pain and customise a plan for you to get you feeling your best.

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.