When I was little my grandma always use to scream her lungs out when my back wasn’t straight, whether I was walking or sitting, or sleeping. Back then, I use to think she just had a knack for yelling. I remember I would be playing outside with my friends and out of nowhere I would hear my grandmas squeaky voice yelling “Baaaaack”, and I would straighten out my posture right away.
Now that I am all grown up and I don’t have anyone yelling in my ear to straighten my back, my posture has been getting worst and worst. I finally understand why my grandma was stressing out so much about my back. Posture is important! And it should be a great concern, because posture can determine the outcome of your performance and well – being.
Good posture is needed to keep the organs in place and to allow them to work efficiently and effectively. For example: If you have a swayback, the intestines press against the floor of the abdominal cavity, instead of being held in place. This interferes with their normal work. If you have rounded shoulders and excessively rounded upper back ( me ), there is a constriction in the chest cage. This can prevent you to completely fill the lungs with air, which is vital in fitness activities.
Posture affects how you walk, run, jump, lift weights and everything else you do. If you have rounded shoulders, your arms may be slightly in front of your body instead of hanging alongside your body. With that, if you are lifting the arms sideways directly overhead, you are lifting then up and in front of the body. This changes the muscular movement and the movement pathway.
If you cannot hold straight during running, you won’t have an effective push-off of the ground. Even in walking, if your feet or thighs are excessively rotated outward, greater stress will be placed on the hip and knee joints. After a while this can cause injuries to these joints.
If you constantly lean to one side( that’s another problem of mine ), your pelvis tilts sideways and and your spine curves to the opposite side, sloping one shoulder. If one body part is out of alignment, another body part must likewise get out of alignment to balance it. This is why it is so important to always do exercises for your back.
Most of the time correcting posture is often all that is needed to relieve back pain.
You can find out if you have good posture by standing with your back against the wall, your heels, backs of the calves, buttocks, upper back and head should comfortably touch the wall.
How To Strengthen Your Back With Simple Exercises
By strengthening and stretching the necessary muscles to create good posture, you can prevent injuries and also rehabilitate them.
1. Back raises on a balance ball
Laying on on a balance ball raise to a position above level. Complete 3 sets of 20 2-3 times a week.
2. Back raises 2
Laying on the floor spread your arms in a bended position, now lift your back for 3 sets of 20, like this:
3. Reverse push-up
Similar to the back raises above but with a different position of the hands. Lay down on the floor as if you were about to do a push – up, place the hand by your chest, now lift your back and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times. Like this:
4. Bird exercise
Laying on the floor extend your arms to the side and lift your back moving your arms up and down, simulating a bird flying, like this:
You can repeat this exercise 20 or 30 times, 3 to 4 sets.
The key to having a well-aligned and balanced body is develop all the muscles proportionately. That way, your muscles will keep your joints in the natural state and not allow any deviations to occur.
Everyone spends a decent amount of time sitting. Sitting effects the spine, because it places a higher pressure on the vertebral disks, much higher than standing or laying down. How? It is because when standing, your body weight is distributed over a wide variety of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. As soon as you sit down, the abdominal area relaxes, which causes a majority of your body weight to load the disks. Over the long term this constant increased load upon the disks can result in a many problems, such as impinged nerve roots to degenerative osteoarthritic changes.
What you can do
1. You can use a chair with back support and an armrests, this can lower the pressure on the disks.
2. Choose a chair that is wide enough to keep your knees apart. When you keep your knees close together it makes you more prone to “slumping”.
3. Use a balance disc. This is a very inexpensive piece of equipment , about 15 bucks. When you are using a balance disk while sitting, it makes you use your abs for balance, therefore releasing the pressure off your back. The best thing about this disc, is that you can also use to exercise ( that’s what I do ), it’s double duty!