During the last few decades, we have turned into a nation of flexion addicts. We are sitting at the computer, eating, traveling in cars and planes, watching T.V, talking on the phone, and eating. We think we are sitting, but physiologically we are slumping. We are almost always inclined forward even if we are doing nothing. This “posture” degrades our musculature and affects our neurological systems negatively.
The human body is designed to function from a neutral spine. When we are slumped in the sitting position, our muscles become lax. You can feel the difference when you sit upright on your sitting bones. Connect the lift of the domes of the pelvis, ribs, and head. Look at your clothes and see how they hang. Now slump and watch how the fabric wrinkles. This is what is happening to your torso muscles. Still wonder why your abdomen is sticking out? Muscles become lax when you slump, so other muscles try to take over the slack of the internal support muscles. When you sit for long periods, your hips and shoulders become stiff. Your hip flexors and neck muscles must take up the slack. They are tightening to hold you up.
Throughout the day, concentrate on keeping your three natural back curves in balanced alignment. Keep your weight in control; excess weight exerts a constant forward pull on the back muscles, causing the muscles in the abdomen to stretch and weaken.
Avoid staying in one position for long periods; inactivity causes muscle tension and weakness.
Sleep on a firm mattress and use a pillow under your head just big enough to maintain the normal cervical—neck—curve. Avoid use of oversized or several pillows.
Exercise regularly; exercise promotes strong and flexible muscles that keep your spine upright in a proper postural position.
Protect your back by using good body mechanics; bend your knees when picking something up or putting it down; carry a heavy object by using two hands and keeping the load close to your waist.
Wear comfortable and well-supported shoes. Avoid continuous use of high-heeled or platform shoes, which distort the normal shape of the foot and throw the back’s natural curves out of alignment.
Walk with a good posture; keep the head erect with chin parallel to the ground, allow arms to swing naturally, and keep feet pointed in the direction you are going.
A regular exercise and stretching routine is important to keep the body flexible. It helps to enable movement through the reduction of the related pain, maintain and increase range of motion, reduce fatigue, and it lets you look and feel better. An effective exercise routine therefore:
-Keeps joints supple
-Strengthens muscles around the joints
-Strengthens and maintains bone and cartilage tissue
-Improves overall ability to do everyday activities
-Improves health and fitness by:
-increasing energy level
-assisting weight control
-improving overall cardiovascular condition
-improving self-esteem and emotional health