How to Relieve Lower Back pain – Incorporating Exercise into Your Home Office
One of the things I love about working out of my home office is all the freedom it allows me to spend with my husband and our two teenage sons. But one of the things I disliked was the effect it had on my physical health. Because I could work any time I wanted, I found myself waking up early to take advantage of several quiet hours before the rest of the house awoke, and then working long into the night after everyone else went to bed. While I loved working at home since leaving the corporate world behind, I was tired, had gained an extra 15 pounds, and to make matters worse, I’d developed an annoying twinge in my lower back.
The Link between Bad Habits and Back Pain
Most back pain is directly proportional to the amount of bad habits in our lives. Smoking leads to bone loss. Poor posture habits lead to stress on the spine. Excess snacking and other poor dietary habits lead to extra weight gain. And this was my Achilles’ heel. Unlike my former cubicle which was snack free; my home office was initially at the corner of the dining room table. No matter where I went in the house, I had to go past the pantry filled with snack cakes, candy, and other high-calorie treats. Having one with lunch, another in the mid-afternoon, and something before bedtime added up, and as the pounds packed on my backache worsened.
I tried everything to lose weight, but my heart wasn’t really in it. Mornings reserved for writing kept me from joining my husband on his early morning runs. Evenings were reserved for things like book club, and family pizza night. I used any excuse I could to get out of working out. It wasn’t until my husband, a career firefighter, decided to turn an area of our garage into a workout center for both him and our two teenage sons that I began to see that working out didn’t have to interfere with either my workday or my personal time in the evenings.
Losing Weight to Relieve Pain
Some of the home gym reviews inspired me to add some light workout equipment to my home office. Along with my new yoga mat and weights, I talked to my doctor about preventive measures that I could add to my new daily schedule to avoid worsening the condition. Here are some things she suggested:
- Improve your posture. Poor posture puts unnecessary strain on back muscles and even though it might seem like a small thing, doing many small things with one bad habit adds up to a huge problem. Your doctor can refer you to a chiropractor to realign your spine and fix other back issues.
- Lift properly, using your knees. If an object is too heavy, get help lifting it; don’t try to do it by yourself. Spread your feet to create a steady foundation and bend at the knees, not the waist. Use your leg muscles to lift, holding the object as close to your body as possible.
- Choose ergonomic office supplies. This not only helps relieve and prevent back pain, but it could also help you avoid issues like carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and migraine headaches. Most people think back pain and ergonomics is limited to the office chair, but your computer mouse, monitor placement, and other things factor in as well.
- Be smart about your shoes. This one was the most difficult for me. While my husband and sons wear gym shoes to work out on some of the best cardio exercise equipment in our garage, my lifestyle is very different. And as a girly girl, I do love my high heels. Our family chiropractor recommended a website his wife uses for buying shoes that help support the body. Now I don’t have to suffer lower back pain whenever I want to wear the latest fashions in footwear.
Some of the most useful advice I received came from American football coach Mike Ditka who said, “I’ve been in the habit of freezing white grapes and using them as a snack. Instead of eating peanuts or popcorn or something like that or pretzels, I just eat the white grapes.” Trading out sugary snacks for fresh fruits and vegetables, buying low-sugar flavors to add to water instead of buying high-calorie juices, and using the grill to cook instead of the deep fryer went a long way towards shedding those extra pounds as well.
Spend Your Free Time Free of Your Home Office
Working out of your home office doesn’t have to be a pain in the back. Just make sure the changes you make are lifestyle changes that you incorporate into your everyday routine. Once you’re in better shape and looking for ways to spend free time away from your home office, whether you decide to take a Crossfit class in a Victoria Island fitness center or prefer hiking through the heart of the Canadian rainforest, there is a broad range of activities available to people on Vancouver Island in the Victoria area. Even something relaxing like a birding tour burns more energy than sitting on the couch watching television or playing a video game.
About the Author
Freelance writer Becky James-Muth appreciates a good workout but she’d rather be working in an indoor, climate-controlled environment which makes yoga a great choice to stay in shape, even when working in her home office. When she’s not working, or working out, Becky spends her free time traveling along the coast with her family, meeting up with friends for coffee, and taking part in domestic hobbies like knitting and experimenting with new recipes.