Workplace Health for the Menopausal Women

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It’s that time of year when we are all more focused on our health and wellness.  I thought I would take advantage of this mini-window of opportunity to help us all create some new, healthier habits!

For those of you who are sitting at a desk hovered over a computer or laptop, most of the day, this blog is for you!

My work at EllenDolgen.com keeps me glued to my desk chair working on my computer most of the day and sometimes into the night. Consequently, I find myself experiencing a variety of neck/back challenges that I never used to have.

I reached out to my wonderful trainer, Daniel Shamburg, MS, CSCS and founder of ShiftFitness, who helps me stay on my path of healthy aging to see how I can best tackle this new work related  problem.

Daniel told me there are a number of tips that can help those of us whose jobs cause us to be glued to the internet, stay pain-free while we work.

1. Be more aware of your posture. Posture, like muscles, needs to be worked on to improve. When we sit for prolonged periods of time the head, shoulders and torso round forward. This forward posture increases the amount of strain on our neck and spine. Over time, chronic shoulder, neck, and low back pain can develop.

2. Take a break and stand up! Take a break and stand every 30 minutes (2 – 5 minutes at a time). I now use the timer on my cell phone to remind me to get up and take a break, being mindful of getting my shoulder and neck back.

3. Exercise during the day. Walk stairs, stretch, and activate your muscles. Daniel recommends establishing a daily step goal using these guidelines:

  • Less than 5,000 steps = Sedentary
  • 5,000 – 7499 = Low Active
  • 7,500 – 9,999 = Somewhat Active
  • Greater than 10,000 steps = Active

4. Keep track of your steps. You can purchase devices like Fitbit, which is a pedometer that will keep track of your steps and help motivate you to get up and move. Some of these type of devices can even alert you when you haven’t been moving! Don’t worry, they don’t yell, these are gentle reminders.

5. Use proper sitting form.

  • Keep your feet planted evenly on the floor.
  • Sit up straight and tall with your shoulders pulled back. (This one is challenging for me!)
  • Align your ears, shoulders & hips.
  • Adjust monitor height so that your web taskbar is at eye level. (This makes a huge difference!)

6. Utilize Mobility and Strength Exercises.

  •  Strengthen your back muscles to help keep you upright and maintain good posture.
  •  Sitting for too long can cause your head and shoulders to pull forward, resulting in a “hunched over” position.  Focus on strengthening those shoulder and chest muscles.
  •  Take a look at this video for an example of these strength exercises.

These simple changes have truly helped my neck and back issues. Daniel is my healthy aging angel! For more information about Daniel Shamburg go to ShiftFitness or follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Gotta go now, my timer just went off.  Time to stand up!

My Motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

Click here to download my free eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide To Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause.

 

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • Gail Schipper

    Great post for all of us computer workers. I want to recommend a software tool that I use for those break reminders: FitBolt. It’s a funny name but it’s an excellent free app you can run in a web browser while you work. You can set the timer interval to whatever works for you. In case you miss the reminder it builds a list you can use to catch up later. You can also set whether you want just stretches, exercises or both. The stretches are the best I’ve found for the arm/hand/shoulder/back abuse of extended computer use. If you do the exercises you’ll sneak in a fair workout at your desk over the course of the day. I’m slowly converting my office to FitBolt fans. Thanks for keeping us healthy!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Wow, Gail….thanks for sharing the resource. I have never heard of FitBolt. This is great!!!!

  • CaptCruncher

    We forget about the little things like being aware of our posture. Thank you for these reminders!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Most of us are slumped over a computer all day writing! These simple tips really do help.

    • I had bad posture before I started blogging and writing books. Now, it is even worse! I am finding myself slumped over throughout the day. I keep working at it!

  • Posture is a killer for me–not being aware really does cost us. Hunching over the computer–my trainer also talks to me about that. I sit for too long, as well. I need to remember to get up and stretch, walk around, go outside. Also, I have to admit that left to my own device at the gym I am imprudent, so I need adult supervision when I lift weights two hours a week. 😉

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Yes, left to my own devices I would probably never exercise. Thankfully, David and I do it together. So we can help each other get up from our desk chair!!! Getting older is not for the faint of heart!

    • I hear ya….. me too! I need supervision to make sure that I do it AND to make sure I do it correctly!

  • After a lifetime of spinal deformity and titanium in my spine, I can sympathize with posture. And, I cannot sit with my feet on the ground…it drives me batty. Seriously.

    • Yikes, you have been through a lot with your spine. Do you keep your chair up high with your feet dangling?

      • No, I usually sit in butterfly or meditation position, with my legs on the chair. Dangling? Never heard that one! Yes, my spine has been a bit on the challenging side all of my life!

  • Cheryl Nicholl

    Great tips! And it doesn’t get any easier with age does it? Time to move!!!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I think the exercise is so important….but these few tips that I am following at my desk while I work…have really helped me!

    • Gotta keep moving, baby! David and I workout together….it helps us do it!

  • Of course, I am reading this at work, hunched over a computer terminal. First response? I straightened my shoulders and put both feet on the floor. How do i feel? Much better, thanks.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Haha! I still catch myself all slumped over at various times of the day! Bad habits are hard to break! OY!

    • So happy it was helpful, Roz. I am constantly correcting my posture now! Old habits are so hard to break…..OY!

  • Lois Alter Mark

    Boy, do I need this reminder. I’m going to print it out and tape it to my computer!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      These few changes, have really helped my neck and pain pain. Be sure to click on the few exercises in the video he made for us.

    • Haha…good idea Lois! Be sure to look at the video he made us of those couple exercises. They are great!

  • Kimberly

    Thank you! This is a HUGE issue for me lately and I can really feel the negative effects on my back.
    Kimberly

    • These simple tips will truly help, Kimberly. Good luck!

  • So happy it was helpful! These tips really work! ❤️

  • Elin Stebbins Waldal

    This is one of those posts that finds me sitting up straighter as I read it! Indeed, great tips and for sure needs to be somewhere I can see It. Thank you!

    • I am correcting myself all day long now! Hopefully, I will break this habit – eventually!!!

  • Susan Fogarty

    I am also a writer and suffer from the computer slump and chronic backache. I have been doing some yoga to try to strengthen my core, and it is helping a ton! I especially love this routine on YouTube — it’s only 10 minutes but makes me feel so much better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp7bO6Pqu94

    • This is great, Susan. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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