5 Healthy habits for getting back to the office

By Dr Jake Martin (Osteopath)  |

If Melbourne’s difficult 3-month lockdown has taught us anything, it is that our individual health is not something to be taken for granted. 

As we all start planning our return to the office, let’s make use of this lesson and implement some healthy habits that will help support our bodies to feel fit and well.  

Photo by bennett tobias on Unsplash1. Active commute 

In the current climate, actively commuting to work will keep you off public transport, as well as helping you get fit and healthy. Cycling and walking are two great ways to achieve this. If an active commute is not possible due to your location, try jumping off the train, tram or bus one or two stops earlier. The extra steps (use 10,000 as an initial goal) will benefit your physical, mental and cardiovascular health. 

2. Ergonomic setup 

Return to the office on a healthy note by making sure you have a good ergonomic setup. Poor ergonomic setups cause a host of neck and back pain issues and can also lead to poor concentration and increased absenteeism.

A few simple ways to improve your ergonomic setup: 

  • Set your monitor height so that your eyes are in line with the top ⅓.
  • Ensure that you have at least 10cm forearm overlap on your desk for support.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Simple changes like this help reduce neck and back pain. Most Osteopaths have a lot of experience with healthy ergonomic setup, so get in touch if you want some help with optimising your position.  

3. Break from the desk every 30-min 

‘Motion is lotion, rest is rust’. This statement should ring true now more than ever. Research suggests that for every 30-min of sitting/standing at a desk we should aim for 90-sec of movement to break up static postures. This helps keep the body active and reduces the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

A good tip to remind yourself of this is to keep a small glass of water at your desk. Every time you finish the glass, get in the habit of going to refill it. Using a small glass means you’ll need to refill much more regularly than a large one. Get movement plus bonus hydration with one simple habit!

4. Walking meetings

At MOSIC, we try and schedule 1-on-1 walking meetings. While this might not work for all your meetings, a regularly scheduled 30-min walking meeting around the block is great, productive way to have a break from your desk that will provide significant mental and physical health benefits.

5. Mobility exercises 

A regular mobility program helps to reduce pain and improve your long-term spinal health. Two simple exercises you might like to incorporate are:

  • Pectoral stretch
  • Neck stretch 

Pectoral & neck stretch

If you have any questions about setting up healthy habits, current pain or poor function the team at Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre is always happy to talk. 

You can contact Dr Jake Martin or any of our other practitioners any time: