It has been estimated that 40 percent of our lives are spent sitting. Almost everything we do is directly in front of us; eating, driving, working at the computer, even sitting on a stationary bicycle. Eventually if you keep the body forward flexed for 6-12 hours; five days per week it will “mold” into that position. Think of a fishing pole and how it bends into a “C” curve when there is weight at the end. This is what happens to your spinal column when gravity pulls it forward, forming an upper back “hump.” Slouching over time can become more than an appearance problem. It results in muscle imbalances, fatigue and uneven wear and tear, pain and a wide host of musculoskeletal problems.
Fortunately, your current posture is not set in stone. In order to achieve ideal posture, you must train the body to walk, stand, sit and lie in positions that place the least amount of stress on supporting structures during movement or weight bearing activities. One method for correcting poor posture is called “active sitting.” For a few minutes each hour while at the computer; practice not using the back rest of the chair and sit upright while tightening your “core” abdominal muscles. Within a few minutes you will likely feel fatigue of your lower back muscles. That’s exactly what you want since these are the same muscles that go into hibernation when you sit.
Another great postural exercise is known as “arm circles.” It strengthens the muscles of the upper back and will help get you out of a forward slump.
Stand upright with arms at your side. Raise your arms making sure both shoulders remain even. Lift your arms up just below shoulder level; with palms facing down and thumbs extended forward. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together slightly. Try to hold the position for 5-10 seconds. Now turn your palms to face the ceiling and squeeze the shoulder blades again.
Just as an orthodontist spends many months to correct the mal-position of the teeth with braces, it also takes time to correct abnormal posture. It has been estimated that it takes more than 5, ooo repetitions to reformulate a habit. Try to get a daily dose of therapeutic motion to counteract a forward flexed posture. Exercise is powerful medicine for the human body.