Sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, stick your chest out. These are all things that we have heard when people speak about correcting bad posture. These postural cues are effective at getting people to recognize their bad postural habits, however they do not fix the weaknesses or dysfunctions in the body that cause poor posture. We can address this issue with specific exercises that can alleviate pain and lead to better overall well-being.
I myself was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at a young age, a disorder that causes severe curvature of the spine. As a result of this disorder, I had the posture resembling the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Following surgery I focused on maintaining my corrected posture through numerous exercises and stretches. To this day my posture has improved tremendously by using some of the exercises I will share with you below.
Poor posture is typically brought on by the effects of poor daily habits that are displayed in the musculoskeletal system. These habits can include chronic sitting or staring at the computer, prolonged driving, lack of exercise, backpack use, working only your mirror muscles or an overall lack of activity. Muscles on the back side of the body are typically under worked, while muscles on the front side of the body, the mirror muscles, are overworked. As a result of these imbalances your head starts to lean forward, your shoulders round, your pecs become tight, and your hips loose alignment. Any one of these issues can force the body to compensate by recruiting other muscles, which over time can develop into larger issues and possibly even an injury.
Pain is commonly displayed in the neck, shoulders, lower back, knees and heels. Your body is programmed to avoid pain, so the body tries to regain the strength and stability that should be present from the muscles in the posterior part of the body by tightening the posterior muscles to protect the body from injury. This is one of the main reasons the majority of the population claim to have tight hamstrings and calves. If we can strengthen these muscles while increasing their flexibility, your posture will improve. Thus, the pain in problem areas will go away and your overall feeling of well-being will improve dramatically.
Pain in the neck can be attributed to lack of strength in the musculature surrounding the neck and upper back. As we sit at the desk all day, our head slowly starts to drift forward. These muscles from our neck, down to the middle portion of the back become fatigued and are not strong enough to support the head. Neck pain is typically located in the upper traps or levator scapulae, whose function is to hold the head in a upright position. Strengthening these muscles will help alleviate neck pain and allow you to maintain an upright posture.
Try these exercises to strengthen the muscles of the neck.
Weakness in the muscles that pull your shoulder blades together contribute to rounded shoulder posture. This also occurs if you train the muscles of the chest more often than the muscles of the back. By training your back muscles more often, specifically your rhomboids and lower traps, while stretching your chest muscles you can correct your rounded shoulder posture. Generally a ratio of 2 back exercises to 1 chest exercise is recommended to correct muscular imbalances.
Try these exercises to strengthen the muscles on the back side of your body.
Try these stretches for your chest
Lower back pain is a complaint that the majority of the population will have at some point in their life. This commonly occurs because the glutes and hamstrings are not strong enough to support the body and keep the pelvis in proper alignment. Weakness in the posterior chain (the muscles located on the back of the body) causes the pelvis to rotate away from a neutral position, which puts excess stress on the lower back to maintain an upright posture. If you experience lower back pain, strengthening your glutes and hamstrings will help take the stress off of the lower back by keeping the pelvis in a neutral alignment and keep your back healthy.
Do these exercises to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings
Poor posture is something that plagues us all. Life is stressful and the stress of life can manifest in your body and lead to chronic issues if your poor posture is left unchecked. Luckily the majority of postural issues can be corrected with simple exercises a couple times a week. These exercises alone will help you target the problem areas, however if you do not change your daily habits, postural issues will plague you for the rest of your life. So get up off the coach or from behind your desk and get moving, ride a bike instead of drive to work and work all the muscles of your body not just the ones you can see in the mirror. Most of all enjoy what you are doing, because if you do not find a feeling of enjoyment from exercise it will always feel like burden.
How often do you train? Do you think you are really training to be truely your best? When was the last time you measured your success? Combine 360 has put together an awesome total body workout challenge that anyone can do. The great thing about it is you can train to get better at the challenge and measurable see that you are improving by timing how long it takes to complete the challenge. So what exactly is it?
Combine Training is an intense fitness discipline and training system based on the core elements of sport performance that challenges each individual to maximize their potential and enhance their athletic engine through Challenges and workouts rooted in movement, balance and strength.
Every Wednesday at 12:15-1:15pm here at FX Studios we do a Combine Training group class. The workouts are not brand new to anyone, but how they are executed and scored changes how each individual performs and pushes themselves. We work together as a team to motivate each other to get get the best score and then I record it and at the end of the hour, everyone can see their numbers. At the end of the day everyone is competing with themselves and getting better scores than before.
COMBINE 360 WORKOUT CHALLENGE
This week Adam Foote, Kevin Mead, Emma Scagnelli, and I attended the McCormick Health Fair to promote our next 10 week Fitness Challenge. We all spend many hours at work, so why not get healthy with our fellow employees! Here at FX Studios, corporate fitness is very popular and an awesome program that we excel in. Some of our other Corporate relations include Under Armour, Agora, Travelers, and Advanced just to name a few. What’s great about our corporate fitness challenge is that whether we come to YOUR WORK, or we create a group class with all your co-workers here at FX Studios, the atmosphere is very welcoming and everyone is accountable for each other! Healthy employees make happier employers which is critical for an organizations success!
What are you doing at work to help better your health and fitness? Is there ways you can improve your office or workplace? Let me know how I can help you!
Check out some our testimonials from past Fitness Challenges we did!
Try it for yourself!
- Heavy Jump rope-how many in 60seconds
- Rower-Max Meters in 60 seconds
- Bosu Release push up in 60 seconds
- Bench Jumps- how many in 60 seconds
- Heel slides-how many in 60 seconds
- Squat curls-60 seconds (M/30lbs – F/15lbs)
- Bosu Crunch- 30 seconds each leg- add up totals
- Ice Skaters for 60 seconds(rings must be 5 feet apart)
I dare you to try it out and post your scores -or- send me your questions and comments:)
Alicia Obriecht- firstname.lastname@example.org