When your Back Posture Fails You!
Hey psst….let us tell you a little secret about your posture. Ever wondered why people usually end up giving you a not-so-attentive look every time you have something important to say to them? Well, it’s not that you are wearing a cloak of invisibility or that you don’t have anything important to say to them. It’s just that maybe, just maybe, your body language is not in line with the wisdom within you. Studies show that those who have a confident manner of approaching other people are more likely to be better at socializing than those who are usually slouching and happen to have their muscular coordination all over the place.
Imagine how much things will change around you only if you took good care of your muscles and don’t allow them to fall in a silent slumber due to habits that smell of unhealthiness. Have you ever bumped into someone who is standing tall, with his head held high? Do you get the feeling that this person is ready to take on the world and will have a bright future ahead of him only because his body language is ticking all the right boxes?
It’s not that this person is a work of art or anything. It’s just that this person has been very sincere with his health and has ensured that advancing years don’t affect his posture. You could be that person too! It is not a miracle to have a great posture. Rather than going about your life hunched and wincing at every movement, you can walk with the sort of confidence that will leave a lasting impression on those who you meet on your way to glory.
Moreover, it is about time you start taking action and do something about your bad posture. If you choose to ignore this, you may end up having some serious issues that will make life very hard to live for you.
Problems that come with bad posture
- Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestion issues
- Impingement and nerve compression
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
The aforementioned issues are going to be more than just pestilent nuisances. However, you don’t have to wallow in despair. There’s always a solution for such problems and we can give you a few pointers that will help you get things right.
As is the case with every problem life throws your way, you need to trace back the steps and pinpoint the cause. In the case of postural issues, it is usually muscular imbalances. In a nutshell, the muscle group could either be too tight or too loose or weak which can also happen if you don’t put them to good use on a consistent basis.
For instance, take the curious case of your shoulders that are hunched forward most of the times. If this is the case with you, you may have tight pectoral muscles that pull the shoulders forward and rotate them in towards the midline of the body. Throw in weak back muscles and you will see the shoulder girdle away from its default position.
This is going to be a problem when you cross you 30s. To get this problem out of the way, the most advisable way is to put your overactive muscles through stretching exercises while strengthening your underactive muscles.
Considering how are lifestyles have evolved as we enter practical life, we seldom pay due attention to our posture. We might forgive you for having no idea how misaligned your body may be. However, the moment you realize that your posture is not healthy and requires some work, the first step is to give yourself a brutally honest assessment.
Putting on form-fitting clothes will give you a great idea about your overall alignment. Stand with no shoes on, make yourself as comfortable you can and try not to force yourself into a perfect standing posture – let everything be natural. Ask someone to take a full body picture from the front, the side and behind.
If you’re doing everything right, this is how your body posture should and should not look like:
If you look at the image with the checked box carefully, you will see that ears are well above the shoulders, ribs are over the hips and hips are over the heels. Meanwhile, the pelvis and spine are in a neutral position. If that is not the case with you, your daily activity begins.
If your body isn’t looking perfectly aligned, you may have one or more postural faults.
Postural Fault 1: Hips Press Forward and Sit in Front of the Ribs
Possible overactive muscles: Hamstrings, gluteus maximus and medius, quadratus lumbroum (glutes, lower back and hamstrings) and erector spinae.
Stretching activity: Seated glute stretch, Runner’s stretch, world’s greatest stretch, hamstring stretch, lying crossover.
Possible underactive muscles: External obliques, Iliopsoas and rectus femoris (lower abs and hip flexors)
Strengthening activities: Exercise ball pull-in, hanging leg raise, scissor kick and cocoon.
Posture Fault 2: Excessive Curve in the Lower Back with Pelvis Tilted Forward (A.K.A Lower-Cross Syndrome)
Possible overactive muscles: Erector Spinae and Iliopsoas
Stretching activity: Kneeling hip lexor, hug knees to chest, quadriceps self-myofascial release, quadriceps stretch and pyramid stretch over ball
Possible underactive muscles: Abdominals and gluteus maximus
Stretching activity: Single-leg glute bridge, leg-elevated crunch, frog sit-up, pelvic tilt to bridge
Fault 3: Shoulders in front of ears (Rounded Shoulders)
Possible overactive muscles: Pectoralis major and minor (chest)
Stretching activities: Elbows-back stretch, chest stretch on stability ball, chair upper-body stretch, front deltoid stretch
Possible underactive muscles: Lower trapezius, serratus anterior (these are the muscles in the back around the shoulder blades and rear delts) and rotator cuff
Strengthening activity: Back fly with band, Seated cable row, shoulder external rotation, rear-delt row
Posture Fault 4: Head is moving forward
Possible overactive muscles: Upper trapezius, levator scapula (these are the muscles behind the neck that keep the head tilted back) and neck extensors
Stretching activity: Chin to chest, neck self-myofascial release and sternocleidomastoid stretch (this exercise has to be done with your palms up before you reach your arms as further back as possible while turning your head to one side).
Possible underactive muscles: Muscles in front of the neck because of which the head tilts forward (neck flexors)
Strengthening activity: Isometric front-neck exercise