At the beginning of my strength and conditioning career, I noticed one thing that most of my clients had in common. It was the presence of musculoskeletal pain. Most of their jobs involved sitting all day in the office or traveling long distances by car, on the plane, or hunching over the counter. It made me think, observe the modern human beings lifestyle even more, and how I can make my training more effective, so they can work, play and live pain-free.
I introduced them to some mobility exercises, foam rolling, stretching, and the correct exercise technique, and designed the best program. However 1 or 2 hours worth of exercise a day won’t make up for the 12-14 hours worth of sitting that they do when out of the gym.
I am not saying that you should stop training, not at all, I would like to encourage you to move more but move better or just stand more rather than sit. By moving you do not have to think the hardest exercise. It only means taking a short walk in the office, setting up a standing desk or stretching. Those little things that can make huge difference.
Whether you are a passionate weight lifter, an athlete or someone who wants to focus on a healthy movement, in all these cases advised to include body maintenance in your routine. This can be done before bed or in the morning when you wake up or anytime you choose to invest into yourself.
Experiencing the Truth
Have you realized that sitting upright now is something that you have to remind yourself to do and secondly is a hard work to maintain the position? Well, definitely it is if your back is flexed most of the time. Then that position becomes uncomfortable and adjust ourselves into another ‘bad’ position. This will cause tight chest, stiff shoulders, lower back pain. Switches off our lower body completely and will develop pelvic disfunction. It also weakens the diaphragm our biggest breathing muscle. I could go on and on how much harm it causes. Most importantly it will do damage no good.
What is a bad posture?
When you sit in a flexed position your muscles get stiff and tight. Including your chest, shoulder the neck. This position can lead to neck pain, but also shoulder pain which can show up with the sign of numbness in the whole arm, even when sleeping, lower back pain as your glutes and lower body is switched off.
2. Overextended Spine
So now we know about the flexed spine and to sit and stand up straight. But can be a misunderstanding about straight? Sticking your bum out too far, thinking I am alright now. However overextension again can be a problem and cause of pain. Stabilizing a good position is not only about the spine, but the shoulders, the pelvis the feet and the knees. A trainer should be responsible not saying just keep your back straight or stick your bum out, because that can mean such different thing than a braced, stable and neutral spine. That has to be showed and taught in detail.
This position can also cause lower back pain and will make you lose force while completing daily tasks or a gym workout too. A stable spine can help you carry, hinge, squat, lift so it is very important to do it with a stable spine.
3. Others Bad postures
You can see few other examples here, not mentioned the high hips or shoulders or by the stiff and tight muscles caused pain.
How to Stabilize Your Spine, hips and shoulders
Now that we have seen all those scary silent pain causes, that we lots of the time do NOT even realize we are doing. It is time to move onto the solution! Squeeze your glutes – engage it to to set your pelvic into a neutral position. Make sure your feet are facing forward and screwed into the ground as well as your toes to stabilize your hip, legs and knees. This means they should not be turned out.
Interesting fact: Go and lay down on your back and relax. Have a look what is the first reaction your feet are doing. They turn naturally out. This is the only time they should. Even when you squat you should have your feet facing forward and driving the knees out keeping the shin vertical.
Inhale in through the nose into the belly, and when you exhale imagine wrapping your abs around your spine and squeezing the rib cage down, bracing the core. Keep the shoulders externally rotated and the head facing forward in a neutral position. Sit and stand this way throughout the day until you go to sleep. Make sure you move around every 25-30 minutes.
What else can you do?
1. Mobilize – foam rolling, lacrosse ball some mobility type of training even between sets while you are working out.
2. Learn the correct squatting, walking, hinging mechanics. These are the things and movements that most of your day is made of.
3. Create your environment that will prevent and protect you from pain and bad posture – this means moving around and also to stand more. Use the stairs, use all the opportunities to move.
4. Wear suitable shoes – elevated heels are not great for posture, replace them when you can.
Do not walk or lift in running shoes, is like balancing or walking or lifting on top of marshmallows- not very stable as Aaron Horschig says!
If you would like clear instructions and training plan to live pain free and learn how to move correctly, even if you spend most of your time in the office, join my 3 weeks wellness success program! It is time efficient and can be completed anywhere!
Hope this was Helpful!