We live in a world where sitting for most of the day has become the norm.
When you really stop to think about how much time you spend sitting, it can be quite alarming. Especially since we now know the ramifications of sitting for too long. Over time, our bodies have adapted to this lifestyle and our posture has suffered immensely as a result.
Thankfully, we can undo this damage by consistently strengthening specific weakened muscles while stretching a few tight areas. Let’s look at how to regain a posture that you can be proud of.
Hip Flexor Muscles
Commonly known as the hip flexors, the iliacus and psoas muscles become tight and weak over time through long durations of sitting. This can be detrimental to not only your posture, but your overall performance in the gym and on the court. The biggest misconception about this muscle group is that they require stretching, but not strengthening. However, this muscle group plays a vital role in many different movements including running. I would recommend stretching your hip flexors after sitting, making sure to also isolate them during strength training.
For those of us that spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, the tissues around the thoracic region of the spinal column stiffen up and prevents us from achieving full range of motion. This means it can be very difficult to even get into the proper position for certain exercises, such as the barbell back squat. This area of the body needs to be stretched regularly; I'd recommend using a foam roller.
Pec Major & Pec Minor
Tight pectoralis muscles are another by-product of activities such as sitting at the computer or spending time on your phone. Most of the time, we are reaching forward rather than pulling towards us. This results in having a tight chest and underdeveloped back. Focus on stretching your chest and shoulders while strengthening your upper and lower back muscles.
Text neck, or turtle neck, is a result of looking down all the time. The muscles, joints and ligaments around the neck become stressed as they are working harder to maintain the forward head position. For some, this will result in suffering incredibly painful headaches! Movement through full range of motion as often as you can, will to help alleviate this tension. At least once a day, work on controlled articular rotations or Neck Cars.
If you need any help with exercises or stretches, contact the Health & Wellness team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbara and Ryan assist with exercise selection and demonstration of proper form.