Increasing evidence suggests poor posture can lead to increase stress on tissues, muscle imbalances and musculoskeletal pain. Posture, particularly maintaining a good sitting posture is becoming more and more important in a society that spends most of its day sitting in front of screens. Particularly relevant now many are working at home in less than ideal set ups.
Why is exercise so important?
Whilst we all have good intentions and try to sit in an improved posture it is not long before we find ourselves in a slumped position. Often this is because we don’t have either the muscle strength or length to maintain this position for long periods. Exercises that address these muscles are the key to improving your posture and preventing unwanted pain.
3 easy exercises to add to your daily routine to counteract poor posture:
1) Upright/seated row:
Using either gym equipment or a resistance band secured in front of you start with both arms in front of your body at shoulder width with palms facing downwards. Pull the weighted handles or the resistance band towards you. Keep your chest upright and bring your elbows behind you squeezing between your shoulder blades at the same time.
Aim: To strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades that prevent you from slouching when sitting
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground close to your bottom. Push through your heels and lift your bottom off the ground. Try and keep your back in a neutral position, squeeze your buttock muscles and lift your hips. Add weights on top of your hips to make it harder once you have the action sorted.
Aim: To strengthening the posterior chain to counteract gravity which pulls the body into poor positions over time
3) Shoulder squeezes
Sit up tall and start with arms in front of you with theraband stretched loosely between the hands. Start moving from the shoulder blades and move arms apart. Control the moment slowly in and out.
Aim: To strengthen the muscles that help to pull your shoulder down and back thus preventing rounded shoulders.
Expert opinion: Exercises to strengthen the muscles at the back of the body, also known as our posterior chain or anti-gravity muscles, are the best defence to prevent poor posture.
If you have any queries regarding your posture or would like more postural exercises incorporated into your program, then speak to your Physio. Theraband can be purchased from our clinics. We suggest you start with red theraband. If you are particularly weak, recovering from an injury or frail, then yellow might be a better option for you.
SquareOne Physiotherapists are experts in assessing posture and developing exercise programs to address postural problems. Pilates is the perfect way to get started.