Picture yourself doing a wall sit. If you’ve ever been to a gym with either a personal trainer or an over-zealous friend, you’re probably familiar with this exercise.
If you’re not familiar with it, the wall sit is a test of both physical and mental endurance that requires one to:
- lean against a wall, keeping the back and neck straight
- slide down that wall until the thighs are parallel to the floor
- hold that position for an unreasonable amount of time (see picture to the right)
To say the least, the wall sit is uncomfortable and it definitely takes getting used to.
While maintaining good seated positioning does not require as intense effort as the wall sit, it does require the same physical principles:
- back and neck straight (not arched)
- core slightly engaged
- hips and knees at a 90 degree angle
If your sitting position does not resemble that of a wall sit, you’re probably damaging your posture and limiting your physical capabilities. Remaining in a poor position for long periods of time leaves you without the ability to transfer force effectively and makes the spine vulnerable to injury.
Most gym-goers are used to hearing phrases such as “Keep your core tight” and “Shoulders back,” so why do we ignore that advice as soon as we leave the gym?
The truth is, after you work out, your muscles are torn and your body goes into a state of recovery. If you remain in a poor position while your body heals, it will actually heal in this shortened muscular state. This only reinforces your poor body positioning, meaning you’ll need to do an extended mobility warm-up routine on your next gym visit in order to avoid injury.
Maintaining good posture throughout the day allows your body to transition into healthy lifts easier, making for a better all-around gym experience.
The good news is fixing poor posture can be very simple.
It requires little awareness and perhaps a few preventative measures. To start, make sure your core (stomach) has a small amount of tension at all times. Don’t flex your abs all day long, but a small amount of abdominal engagement will help pull your spine into a good position.
Also, if your butt is sticking out, your spine is probably arched backward leaving you in a compromised position. Squeezing your glutes (butt) will pull the hips back into alignment and help straighten the spine. Also look at your home and work environment.
Sometimes using a different chair or even standing whenever possible can make a huge difference. Whatever it takes, work on fixing poor posture today and every day. It will be an investment in your health you’ll be glad you made.
If you would like to get the most of your workouts, need help correcting poor posture, or if you’ve experienced pain recently, click here to schedule a consultation with one of our wonderful chiropractors. You’ll be glad you did!