It’s no secret that sitting down is a huge part of everyday life in the modern era. Most people will spend a majority of their day in a sedentary position, either lying down or seated, where they aren’t moving much. Over time, this causes the muscles that support healthy posture to experience atrophy and begin to degrade from lack of engagement. Furthermore, when we sit for long periods of time, the body will naturally dump weight into the low back and the shoulders will tend to round and cave inwards towards our chest. This is one of the biggest reasons why people in the present day experience so much tension in their neck, shoulders, and lower back.
So, let’s talk about how we can alleviate some of that. We’ll need a number of things to get ourselves strong and tall again:
Strengthening Exercises: Focus on the following muscle groups to help fix your posture and position the spine in a healthy alignment.
Abdominals: Strong abs will help to support the lower back and counteract the weight and tension that drops into the area. Abs that are powerful and properly engaged will help open the lower back and reduce over-arching in the lumbar spine.
Mid-Back, Shoulders, and Latissimus: These muscles will help pull your shoulders back and down. This opens the chest and draws the shoulders down away from the head, which allows the neck muscles to lengthen and relax. This will also pull the upper torso into a more upright position and stack it so that less tension falls into the lower back.
Glutes and Hamstrings: These posterior chain muscles are big and powerful muscles that will hold the torso up so that the smaller, weaker lower back muscles won’t have to strain as much to do that job. Make these muscles stronger so that they’ll be the ones engaging, not the lower back.
Stretching Exercises: Stretching areas that close off the body and pull you out of an upright posture is extremely important.
Chest: When tight, these muscles will round the shoulders and upper back, affecting the upper back and neck.
Trapezius: When tight, these muscles will pull the shoulders up towards the ears and affect the neck.
Hip-Flexors: When tight, these muscles pull your body into a closed-off posture and affects the glutes ability to hold up the torso in an upright position.
Lower Back: When tight, these muscles over-arch the lumbar spine and dump excessive amounts of weight into the area, causing pain and tension.
Neck: When tight, the shoulders and head are both affected, which can result in intense pain and headaches.
This one is simple: Sit Less, Stand More!
We know that sitting isn’t the most optimal resting position for the human body, so let’s do that less often. The more optimal position for humans to rest in is a deep squat. Since that isn’t always available to us, standing is the next best. If you study or work at a desk often, consider using a standing desk.
Massage and Recovery (This is what we do best)
Adding a recovery and tension-release factor to your stretching and strengthening regime will help develop and maintain your good posture. Using massage and heat treatment in your routine will help to bring blood to the area while also releasing tension in the muscle fibers. This will bolster the effects of stretching by allowing the muscles to get even longer and more malleable.