Backing yourself up with great posture - Anthony Tornambe
Part one and two of this series focused on what I like to refer to as the scapegoat strategies to health and fitness. Do not get me wrong, eating right and exercising are the corner stones for healthy living, but in many cases a person jumps on a diet train and an exercise program which has not been catered to his or her needs and/or body type and when the results do not match up the two are used as scapegoats to now practice healthy living further. Where a person falls short is in their overall approach. As it has been stated several times, health and fitness is a lifestyle not a plan.
In this segment of the series we will focus on posture and how it effects your overall health and well-being. As poor posture affects up to 98% of the American adult population therapist Deborah Ellison, it should come as no surprise that about the same amount (8 out of 10) people suffer from back pain and injury some point during their lives (life science). Knowing how to re-align your back safely in a busy world is critical to your health. Here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to your back. Anthony Tornambe
Do: Focus on your back alignment
The first step in getting your posture correct is to focus on properly sitting and standing so that your back muscles are strengthened and your posture starts to re-align your back. Keep in mind that this may cause a bit of discomfort at first. Correct posture should have the pelvis parallel to the floor. Yes, there can be a slight shifting forward, but if your pelvic muscles are more leaned forward (say more than 30 degrees or so) then the odds are that the hips have tilted forward as a result of either obesity weight or improper sitting and standing.
When sitting, try to avoid slouching in the chair. Keeping your back straight will strengthen your back muscles. Now, this does get a bit tiresome after a while, especially if you are not used to practicing proper posture while sitting. In office settings and for those who have to sit for long duration of time, I would recommend getting a posture ball chair.
Do: Tighten your abs and gluts
Your stomach and your butt effect your back. A simple exercise of flexing and relaxing your abdomen muscles and/or a simple exercise of tightening and releasing your glutes can help to strengthen the muscles in that region. Special attention should be given to the abdomen and cutting down on excess body fat. Think of it this way, the more weight you have on your stomach pulling forward, the more tension your back has upon it. This as a result causes discomfort in the lower back. However, when that weight/tension is released, the back is more apt to be in its natural position with less pain. Anthony Tornambe
Don’t: Crack your back
Cracking your back is releasing air pockets which are in-between the joints. Essentially, what you are doing is pushing the bones down upon each other slightly. Where this is not harmful occasionally, continuous practice can have effects on the back and the joints. The better solution is to have a heat pad at the office and take a warm shower at the house to minimize the tension. Under no circumstances should you have someone “pop” your back. Doing such could result in you pinching a nerve which could lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. Seek out a chiropractor if you have continuous back pain.
Do: Increase the flexibility of your back
Perhaps one of the main reasons that people experience back pain is due to their back’s inexperience with certain functions. Have you ever wondered why some people can lift 250 lbs, but throw their backs out when they go to change a light bulb? That is why. Your muscles move in a certain way, and just like any muscle, if it gets used to a routine, it will not be happy if you throw off that routine. Like any muscle, or group of muscles, the more you exercise and flex that muscle the stronger it will be. As your back muscles, specifically the trapezius dictate in a large part the overall posture you will have, establishing a quick routine of touching your toes, reaching and trying to touch the ceiling, and hula-hoop waist movements can definitively help your posture and health.
It all plays in together
As discussed in the prior article, walking and jogging are essential to your health. Walking and jogging are also critical to your posture and your overall health and fitness when it comes to your back. Put it this way, if you sit on the bus, sit at your desk, sit at the computer, sit in front of the television, and sit at the dinner table, when does your back have the time to straighten itself out and align properly? It doesn’t. You must make the time and back up your health and fitness goals with correct posture and back exercises.