Most people these days have bad posture, back issues and aching necks. In fact, i’d say as much as 90 percent of people I assess have a postural issue! The question is why? Well, in my opinion it’s because of numerous factors which include desk jobs, bad postural habits and not enough stretching.
How can we fix this? Through simple but effective techniques that everyone can do:
1. Be aware of how you sit. Whether you’re at your desk or having dinner, if you’re one of those people that spend long hours being seated every day, this will have an enormous impact on you. For a start, get a good chair as most are terrible for posture and make sure that the computer screen is slightly higher than shoulder level for best results. Although it’ll be difficult at first as the postural muscles are weak in most people, imagine there is a string attached to your chest and pulling your chest up toward your computer screen and consciously pull your shoulder blades together slightly so that your shoulders are in line with your torso and not forward.
2. Swiss ball for the office. Many offices now don’t mind the option of having swiss balls for their employees and for good reason. Swiss balls force you to use the stabilisers of the body when you’re sitting and make you very aware of when you slouch, so although you should work your way into using these with 10 or 20 minute sessions and then go back to a chair so that you don’t get tired, swiss balls are a great option.
3. Stretch the short tight muscles. Phasic muscles like the deltoids (shoulders), pectorals (chest) and trapezius have a tendency to get short and tight, so you’ll need continual stretching to prevent pronation (when the body starts shifting to more of a foetal position) of the body. So spending just 10 minutes everyday on stretching these specific muscles will really help in opening up your posture into supination.
4. Strengthen the weak postural muscles. This is an absolute must, if the tonic (slow twitch postural) muscles are weak, they will not be able to support the body with the correct posture, so following a plan of strengthening the body with exercises like the prone cobra and various pulling movements will work very well.
5. Take time out. Taking time out every now and then to stand up from your desk, stretch, walk around, breathe through the diaphragm and perhaps even perform a seated prone cobra just to activate the extensor muscles can do a lot to help you at work.
6. Gym Programme. Find a trainer who can assess where you need work in order to correct your posture and design a dedicated programme to help you get there. This will fast track the results and you should notice a difference within 2 weeks.
Try and integrate these tips within your day and remember, as with everything in life, persistent action toward your goal will get you there. Backing off for a few weeks here and there or only stretching once a week won’t work, you need to establish a routine.
Have a great day!