What comes to mind when I say that? We think a straight back, sitting or standing taller, and head not dipping forward. With so many jobs requiring hours of computer work and extended sitting times, we sometimes slack a little and try and find a comfortable position. We’ll slouch a bit into the chair, we relax. It doesn’t just happen at work though. Sitting on the train or on the couch at home, our phone in hand. These devices have become so prominent in our day to day life now, looking down at a handheld device. Gosh our necks must hate us after a while. What I’m talking about here is our postural alignment. It’s the position of all the joints and limbs of the body at any specific moment. When we are sitting down watching the latest Netflix show or walking down a street looking down at our phone while we scroll through Facebook.
So, why the fuss? I mean we feel pretty comfy when we can sink back into a chair. This is just short-term satisfaction, however. Our back is stretched, a large amount of weight is placed on our spine and surrounding muscles that are designed to hold it straight. Gravity is our enemy here. Our necks are bent to keep looking forward, so our neck muscles are working overtime to hold the position. All this overload on our muscles and joints will eventually lead to pains and strains I’m sure many of you have felt. Sore lower back, crook neck coming and going. A habit of bad posture in our daily lives unfortunately places us at a much higher risk of developing injuries. Muscle strains, slipped disks, trapped nerves. These can be very debilitating and can come on suddenly. Posture also has links to our mood. I mean think about it, let’s envision two silhouettes walking side by side, one of a happy and confident person, and one of a sad and sombre person. We tend to picture that the confident person will be walking along with their chest puffed out, they are standing tall, they can take on the world. Moving over to the sad individual, we think of looking at the ground, shoulders drooping and trudging along, quite contrasting.
How do we correct this?
We don’t want to be hobbling around riddled with back pain. Bad posture can be viewed as a habit. It has an unconscious automatic hold on your daily activities, you don’t instantly realise you’re sitting like that. But to change an unconscious action, you need to do it consciously first. You need to actively remind yourself. Thankfully, there are some exercise that can help assist in the process.
Our images on this page show one of our trainers in the start and finish position of some exercises that can help build a mind-muscle connection that will allow the muscles do what they are designed to do.
There are way more exercises than just these so feel free to ask your PT for something new, but these basic movements can really help in your awareness of your own postural alignment. When performed correctly, they focus on bringing our shoulders back, strengthening our posterior chain, and opening our chest. Regularly performing these, will carry on over to our lifestyle. We all are biological adaptable creatures. That’s one of the reasons we go to the gym. So, let’s start building good habits, so they won’t bite us in the backside later in life!