Envision this: You go to the gym to lift. You grab an open squat rack, get your weight set, and position yourself in front of the mirror. You make sure to progress through the squat with your back slightly extended or perfectly neutral, pushing your hips back as you dip. You scrutinize how you distribute weight in your feet and make sure you could drive a rod through your knees directly into your feet. You power through all your weights similarly—activate core, protect back, good posture, lift.
You’ve got great posture, right?
Surprise! Your posture for the 23 hours a day you are NOT exercising is as critical as the 1 hour you are exercising. When you trudge to work, slump in a chair, crane your neck close to the computer and shrug your shoulders typing for the rest of the day, you’ve cancelled out that one hour of great posture at the gym.
Poor posture puts your body out of balance. To stay upright, you engage your muscles to pull this way and that. Overworked muscles and misaligned joints cause those chronic aches and pains you might suffer from. The way you hold yourself can even impact your emotions. Fortunately, you aren’t doomed to a life of muscular torture; these problems are fixable!
Here is your posture fix of the week:
The Hunchback (Kyphosis): Do you look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? Experiencing neck, shoulder, and back pain?
Cause – After long hours hunched over a computer screen, your upper back forms a C shape. Persistent hunching causes tight chest muscles and loose/weak upper back muscles.
What to do – Stretch tight chest muscles with pec stretches. Strengthen back muscles with bridges and crucifix stretches.
Practice makes perfect
Set a reminder for every hour and check in with your body. Are you aligned? Is your chin jutting out? Is your back straight? Is your pelvis neutral? In time you will replace poor postural habits with good ones and find a healthier and happier you!