Improving Your Posture

child girl cartoon poor good posture40829013 M As the world changes and so do workplaces, many more of us spend time doing one activity more than anything else - sitting. Even the most active individuals sit more than they probably should, this could be in the car, on a bus, train, home, work etc. and if your job involves a computer, then there is a very high chance you spend more time in front of a screen than train in your favourite sport/s.

Picture: The Harmony Clinic

 

All of this sitting can lead to an array of muscular imbalances that can effect your overall posture and wellbeing, especially if you slouch for hours at a time in front of a computer. A classical slouch can cause one or several of the following conditions: -  protracted neck, internally rotated shoulders, inactive glutes, disengaged core muscles and shortened hamstrings. Shoulders internally rotated. All of these can have a massive effect on your sports performance, whether it be running, cycling, swimming, tennis, bowling or walking causing other injuries including sleepy glute syndrome, tight hamstrings & iliotibial bands, and rotator cuff issues.

In short, when seated: 

  • sit up straight in the chair
  • keep your back straight with your head in a neutral position
  • allow your shoulder blades to sink into your back pocket
  • align your ears over your shoulders
  • align your shoulders over your hips to avoid that forward slouch.

Muscle Activation Exercises & DYNAMIC STRETCHES

Take breaks from sitting and wake up the lines of communication to underused muscles and to increase mobility in tight areas, by performing some or all of the following: 

  • Activate your Core: pull your belly button toward your spine; raise your arms above your head and lean back slightly while balanced on one leg. Hold it for five seconds; then switch to the other leg.
  • Engage the Core: open up the hips by standing up straight and moving the hips in small circles as if you were twirling a hula hoop around your waist. Do several clockwise circles in both directions
  • Target your Hips:  stand on one leg and move your opposite leg back and to the side. Hold for five seconds; then switch legs.
  • Balance: balancing on one leg, lift the knee of the opposite leg up until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Place your arms in a running position so that you adopt a good runner’s stance. From this position, squeeze your glute and pull your elevated leg back; use your arms just as you would if you were running. Then drive your knee back into the starting position. Repeat several times on each leg.
  • Increase Blood Flow: you can get more blood flowing to your calves with some toe raises. Contract your calves to stand on your toes; then slowly lower back down. Raise up on both calves and gently lower on one to isolate one calf at a time.

static stretches:

  • Chest: Start on rightside, stand against a wall with the right side of your face looking left. Raise your right arm so it is parallel to the floor; then bend the elbow about 10-15 degrees. Use your left hand to push the left side of your body off the wall. You should feel a stretch in the right side of your chest. Hold for at least 30 seconds; then switch sides.
  • Back: begin with a half wall hang. With your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands against a wall. Slowly step away from the wall as you slide your hands down the wall until your hands, shoulders, and hips are aligned and parallel to the floor. Push your hands into the wall and pull your hips away from the wall as you feel a stretch in your lower back.
  • Hamstrings: whilst in the half wall hang, move into a full hang to target more of your hamstrings. Move your hands down the wall to the floor and hang with waist bent and head relaxed.
  • Calves: Stretch your calves with the wall bent knee calf stretch (lower calf) and wall straight leg calf stretch (upper calf).

Make your moments at the desk boosted training time!

The text and information for this article was extracted from Training Peaks, click here for more information

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