Isn’t alliteration fun? Good title, Turner.
Surprising fact: Yes, I am in to fitness, a guru some would say (after threatening them with violence) but the majority of my job, writing about fitness, involves me sitting in front of the TV, on a terribly uncomfortable Ikea couch with a laptop on my lap. I am a perpetual C- shape, with the front of my shoulders often sagging so low I could rest them on the keyboard without missing a stroke.
We sit. A lot. And we do it wrong, so it royally screws us up, causing us to devote hours and hours of exercise just to undo the damage, let alone make improvements.
Here’s what happens when you have bad posture: your muscles and joints become unbalanced- tighter in some places and weaker in others. Thus, the way you sit can change your body- for better or worse.
Sitting with a rounded back and shoulders causes the muscles in the upper back to weaken from inactivity, and the muscles along the front of the body, primarily the pecs, abs and hip flexors to tighten, and further pull the shoulders and head forward. This not only gives you the silhouette of Quasimodo, it can cause pain in these same areas of body, plus headaches, back pain and muscle strain. My biggest issue- tight hip flexors. SO TIGHT.
So what can you do? First and foremost- make yourself a reminder to sit up straight. Put a sticky note on your computer or write “Sit Up” on your hand. You need to build a habit to build those muscles back up properly.
When driving, or sitting at the computer if you have a high backed chair, put a tennis ball between your shoulder blades and hold it there. You will have to keep proper posture to keep the tennis ball from rolling away.
Counteract weaknesses with strength training. Rows and reverse flyes will be your best friend to strengthen the upper back and pop those shoulders back.
Counteract tightness with stretching. Upward dog is great for opening the hip flexors and abdominals if you’re into yoga, or if you remember the days when stretching was just stretching, stretch your hip flexors and your abs. You may be surprised to know that sitting tightens the hamstrings considerably, as bent knees come with the position. So, stretch your hamstrings as well.
Posture is important. Not only does it exude confidence, it exudes a healthy, well-balanced physique.
You’re slouching right now aren’t you? Sit up straight!