10/21/2019 0 Comments
Breathing exercises are powerful tools that are often ignored. Our ability to control our breath and actively alter our breathing patterns can give us a greater control of our stress response, anxiety, and promote our body's natural self-healing abilities. Below are four breathing exercises to help get you started.
Rock and Roll Breathing
Cat and Cow
WHAT AND WHY?
Ergonomics simply means arranging your environment to fit your needs, NOT arranging your body to fit your environment. It's important to prevent injury or promote healing if we've been injured. Too often we don't change our environment until we're already hurting.
Three factors are considered with an ergonomic assessment:
- POSTURE: aiming for neutral.
- FORCE: level of force our body can tolerate is relative to the strength and condition on our tissues (i.e. muscles, joints).
- REPETITION: this can be repeated movement or sustained position, but our tissues need breaks. Breaks can be changing a task so we are putting different stress on our body, it can be taking a quick stroll around the office after sitting for 30 minutes.
WHAT IS NEUTRAL?
Neutral simply means that our joint(s) are in a position where there is the least amount of stress on our tissues on every side of the joint. Examples are:
i. The wrist is in a natural line from the forearm.
ii. The shoulders are not shrugged up to the ears.
iii. The neck isn't turned one direction to look at the keyboard.
iv. The natural curves in our spine are maintained.
BENEFITS OF NEUTRAL POSTURE
i. Provides the greatest strength and stability.
ii. Places the least stress on muscles, tendon, joints, etc.
iii. Results in the lowest risk of repetitive strain injury which are the most common work related injuries.
SETTING UP YOUR OFFICE SPACE
- You want your feet to touch the ground. You can use a footrest if needed.
- Your hips need to be higher than the knees.
- Seat depth is approximately 2-4 fingers from the back of the knee.
- Chair back: Office work is typically forward so chair needs to promote forward work. Position: Neutral or forward, not reclined while working.
- Lumbar Support/Roll only helps if:
1. You sit all the way back in the chair.
2. Pelvis is in neutral position so your spinal curves are maintained. Are you sitting on your 'sit bones' (good) or your tailbone (bad)?
- Armrests: at elbow or slightly higher so you can relax the shoulders.
- Distance: take a piece of paper with print about the sam size as your computer screen and determine at which distance your eyes have to work the least. Measure from the eye to the paper - this is the distance the monitor should sit from your eyes.
- Height: our relaxed line of sight is 10-15 degrees below the horizon (slightly down).
- Elbow angle 90-110 degrees (opened up).
- Same height as your keyboard.
- Limit reaching for frequently used items.
LOOKING FOR ERGONOMIC OFFICE SUPPLIES?
Check out our friends at MT ERGOFIT !
Author: Brace Hayden, DPT
Sleep is something that is vital to the human body. Every system in our body needs sleep to function efficiently. Many people struggle with getting sufficient quality sleep. Getting inadequate or poor-quality sleep is linked to a variety of health-related disorders and reduces your body’s ability to heal. Fortunately, getting more quality sleep is a skill that can be improved with ‘sleep hygiene’ practices. Here are some strategies we have gleaned from the current research (see references below) that can help improve your sleep.
Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is a massive sleep killer. Do everything you can to banish it from your bed. There are ample methods to reduce anxiety: counseling, making lists, self-calming techniques (relaxation, meditation, deep breathing, coloring).
Make Sleep a Habit
Set a routine and stick to it. Your sleep clock or circadian rhythm can get off balance with variations in your sleep-wake cycle schedule. Set a desired wake-up time and a bedtime routine that you can consistently stick with 7 days a week. On average, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. Seniors (over 65 years) require less sleep and tend to wake more often throughout the night. Training your body for optimized sleep requires a set routine. Go to bed early, as studies have shown that people feel more refreshed and awake when they get more hours of deep sleep before midnight.
“Power napping” during the day for 20 minutes or less can be beneficial if you are feeling sleepy. A nap duration for more than 20 minutes can negatively effect on your sleep routine.
Dark, Cool and No Devices
Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Blackout shade or heavy curtains will help keep you asleep during the longer daylight spring and summer months. Avoid electronics in the bedroom (phones, tablets, TVs, and night-lights).
Regular aerobic exercise will improve sleep. Try to get 5-7 days of aerobic exercise for at least 40-60 minutes (walk, jog, bike, swim, etc.). Avoid stimulating activity and vigorous exercise within three hours before sleep.
Liquid Intake and Caffeine
Limit liquid intake (water, alcohol, milk, etc.) in the evening for the 2-3 hours prior to your bedtime to avoid multiple bathroom breaks during the night. Avoid bladder and brain irritants (alcohol. caffeine) in the evening, especially after 7 pm. Limit eating or drinking caffeinated drinks or food (chocolate, tea, coffee, etc.) after 2:00 p.m.
Close Your Eyes
If you wake up in the middle of the night or can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes of winding down. Get out of your bed, go into another room, and reset your pre-bed relaxation routine. Try to do something that is not too interesting or stimulating for 30-45 minutes (listen to relaxing music, meditate, practice taking long slow deep breaths, color, or read something dry). Tossing and turning trains your body and brain have a negative relationship to being relaxed and sleepy in your bed. Beds are for sleeping (and sex).
REFERENCES (available online or at your public library):
The sleep solution: why your sleep is broken and how to fix it
Author: Winter, W. Chris
Quiet your mind & get to sleep: solutions to insomnia for those with depression, anxiety, or chronic pain
Author: Carney, Colleen
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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