Exercise is done best with good posture and when you train your posture properly it affects everything else that you do. This means that the right exercise can equal fewer backaches and injuries caused by chronic poor posture!
If you have chronic poor posture, over time that position causes muscular tightness and weakness which can eventually lead to back and joint pain. The good news is that you can often correct posture through Strength Training!
Your core includes all the muscles in your torso and pelvis. These muscles stabilize every movement that you do.
Not only that, but your core muscles work together as a unit. If you have ever had a sore back, abs, or groin muscles you understand how those muscles work in every action that you do.
It is not enough to simply do abdominal exercises to have a strong core. You can have tight abdominals and still have a weak low back or rounded shoulders, which contributes to postural imbalance.
Bad posture can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some of the more common signs of incorrect postural alignment include the following:
- Protruding abdomen
- Hyper extended knees
- Rounded or uneven shoulders
- Curved spine
- Sunken chest
- Unusually flat back
- Swayed back
- Uneven hips
- Neck craned too far forward
- Chin thrust out
Bad posture may contribute to:
- Limited flexibility and range of motion
- Loss of vital lung capacity
- Distorted skeletal alignment
- Joint stiffness and pain
- Jaw pain
- Reduction of blood and oxygen to the brain
- Muscular tension
- Wear and tear on connective tissue
- Predisposition to injury
Here are some posture tips for common activities:
Avoid locking your knees as you walk.
Spring up lightly with each step.
Try and keep the pelvis level with each step.
Relax your arms, letting them swing straight ahead.
Standing at a table or sink:
Bend one knee, placing the foot up on a box to relieve stress on the lower back.
- Adjust the seat to fit your body’s size and shape. The seat should provide support and comfort.
- The seat should be lightly padded, providing firm back support.
- The seat back rest should arch forward and support the lower back’s natural curve. Use a pillow if this is not the case.
- Match the seat height to the desk or counter height.
- Your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
- Your knees should be slightly higher than hip level.
- Keep your feet on the floor.
- Your elbows should be at desktop or counter height.
- When sitting for extended periods, get up and move around every fifteen minutes or so.
- Keep your back upright and avoid forward lean of the neck and head.
- Lifting should be done by bending at the knees, keeping the back in an upright position.
- Avoid reaching for objects when you are bent forward or the trunk is hyper extended.
- Keep the object as close to the body as you can to prevent back strain.
- If you carry a bag or case on one side or shoulder, regularly shift the object from side to side to ease stress and avoid muscular imbalance.
- If possible, carry objects at shoulder level or on the shoulder (“waiter style”) to keep the center of weight over the center of your body.
- Adjust the seat to fit your body. Use a pillow or pad if the seat is not adjustable.
- Avoid discomfort by moving the seat forward so that your knees are slightly flexed.
- Relax those muscles that are not involved in driving control. Avoid tensing the shoulders, neck and back.
- Take frequent rest breaks during long drives.
Talking on the telephone:
- Avoid bending the head and neck to one side while talking on the phone.
- Avoid excessive use of high heels. They can place too much weight on the front of the foot, while forcing the back and pelvis to overcompensate.
- Avoid excessive use of stiff, hard-soled shoes or sandals with flat bottoms.
- Choose shoes that match the exact size and width of your feet.
- Select footwear that has ample cushioning and support.
- Avoid activities that are associated with previous episodes of lower back pain.
- Always warm-up and cool-down before and after all activities.
- Use proper techniques associated with each activity while remaining aware of postural positioning.