Hello Fitness Enthusiasts!
Good posture. We all know it when we see it (thank goodness most of us don’t see ourselves most of the time). And we know bad posture when we see it. Slumped over, shoulders rounded forward, belly distended, head forward - that uncomfortable work desk position. The thing is, if you are constantly in this position, whether because of hours at a computer, or a long commute, you will become stuck in this position, and let me tell you from experience, it can take years to correct.
After we’ve reached this point, it’s not enough just to be aware of what good posture is - the body loses its ability to maintain these positions for any length of time. The shoulders become tight and restricted, the upper back permanently rounded, and the core and back muscles fail to engage. Now, why is this important to us? Because exercise is a physical undertaking! At the very least, if our joints and spine are out of position, we will be very weak and ineffective at lifting any substantial amount of weight. The worst case scenario is catastrophic injury, like a herniated disc or a torn rotator cuff.
So, what do we do about poor posture? I’m glad you asked! First things first. We have to know what good posture actually looks like. When standing, the knees and directly over the ankles, with the hips directly over the knees, The abdomen is braced, and the shoulders are directly over the hips. If we draw a straight line down the body, we see that shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are all in alignment. Next, we have to free up any muscular restrictions that are preventing us from getting into this position easily. Maybe our shoulders are hunched forward. This indicates that the front of the shoulders are tight and pulling the rest of the shoulder forward. So, we employ myofascial release (either massage or foam rolling) on the front of the shoulders, followed by stretching. Over time, this will loosen the muscles up, and the shoulders will naturally return to their normal position over the hips.
Restoring balance to the body is a difficult undertaking, and many causes can be at play when something isn’t right. It’s best to seek professional help, whether from a personal trainer, a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. This will be the best use of your time, because a professional will be able to identify the root causes and prescribe stretches and other corrective methods that you may not have even thought of. Don’t delay, improve your posture today!
Andrew J. Dougan
Founder, Force of Will Fitness