How do you know if your posture is correct?
Experts recommend a simple “wall” test that you can do at home:
- Stand so that the back of your head, shoulder blades and buttocks are touching the wall, and your heels are 5-10 centimeters from the wall.
- Place your palm on your lower back. When bent correctly, your hand should slide slightly between your lower back and the wall.
- If the gap between the wall and lower back is too large, pull your navel towards your spine. This smooths out the curve and gently brings the lower back to the wall.
- If there is not enough space behind your lower back, bend your back just enough so that your hand can slide behind you.
- Move away from the wall while maintaining the corrected back position and look at yourself in the mirror – this is what correct posture should look like.
Do not be discouraged if your back is far from ideal – in adults, especially with a sedentary job, the ideal is the exception rather than the rule.
What makes us bend our backs?
Posture disorders are caused by some pathologies, in particular, scoliosis – a condition in which the spinal column bends strongly, taking on a non-physiological position. The disease affects people of all ages, from infants to adults, but it is more often diagnosed in adolescents 10-15 years old. Secondary scoliosis can cause neck injuries, back injuries, rickets, certain infections, and other illnesses.
These problems must be dealt with only under the supervision of competent specialists.
But more often than not, poor posture is a consequence of our lifestyle and habits. A person can try to keep his back straight when walking, and still makes mistakes every day that he simply does not notice. Including because others are doing the same.
Here are the most common postures that lead to poor posture:
The habit of slouching while sitting on a chair
This relaxed position is often used during long meetings or during a flight. In this position, you can feel quite comfortable, but gradually tension is created in the muscles, pain appears, and stoop becomes a habit.
Hyperlordosis or Donald Duck Pose
The habit of walking or standing with a slightly slack pelvis is called hyperlordosis. This condition is caused by severe bending in the lower back, including pregnancy, excess weight, and prolonged exposure to the lumbar region. Hyperlordosis causes pain in the lumbar region and sacrum, fatigue and discomfort while walking.
That is, without bending in the lumbar region. A too straight back makes you constantly tilt your head forward, which causes chronic tension in the cervical spine. This condition is caused by muscle imbalances, including from prolonged sitting in a chair.
The habit of leaning on only one leg
This pose looks very impressive, so girls are often photographed with one leg slightly moved. Sometimes we adopt this position automatically, especially when we have to stand for a long time. But in this position, the center of gravity shifts to one side of the lower back and hip, which leads to muscle imbalance and, as a result, poor posture.
Muscle imbalance due to shifting load can also occur due to the habit of carrying a heavy backpack on one shoulder or a small child in one hand.
The habit of “Pecking” at a smartphone or monitor
Almost everyone is guilty of this, but if you constantly sit at the computer hunched over, this indicates that you have tension in the chest, and the upper back is too weak. Over time, this can “round” the posture, leaving the shoulders in constant tension.
The habit of sticking out the chin
This posture can be a side effect of slouching at your desk or the monitor being too high.
Call center operator pose
That is, pressing the tube with your cheek to your shoulder to free your hands for working at the computer or doing household chores. This pose is often seen in movies, especially if the character is a workaholic and tired housewife, but it is very detrimental to your posture. Due to the shift in load, muscle imbalance occurs between the right and left sides of the neck.
How to correct your posture?
Much depends on how badly your posture is. If you cannot keep your back straight for a long time and this causes you pain and discomfort, it is better to consult an orthopedic doctor.
Exercise at home
You can start small and try to keep your back straight. Experts recommend several simple exercises that will help control your posture at any time:
- Inhale and roll your shoulders up and back, and then lower them down, as if gently tucking your shoulder blades into your back pockets.
- Sit on the edge of a chair, place your hands on your hips and place your feet on the floor. Inhale and swing your pelvis and ribs forward while opening your chest and looking up. Exhale, tilt your pelvis and spine back and look down.
- Before going to bed or after waking up, bend your knees with your feet flat on the mattress. Inhale, then exhale slowly and gradually lift your glutes and spine, one vertebra at a time, until your shoulder blades can support your weight. Pause and inhale, then exhale slowly, lowering your spine down.
Exercise in the gym
It must be understood that serious posture disorders cannot be corrected with five-minute exercises; this will require systematic physical activity to strengthen the muscular frame of the back, and preferably under the guidance of a competent coach.
According to fitness trainer Elena Mikhalchenkova, swimming, physiotherapy exercises (exercise therapy) and fitness classes on simulators with an emphasis on working out the muscles of the back and buttocks are the most optimal for posture correction.
With scoliosis, running is strongly discouraged. For cardio training, it is recommended to walk on a treadmill at a fast pace, exercise bike, ellipse.
Hyperextension. This is an exercise that effectively strengthens the muscles of the lower back, glutes and hamstrings.
Pull-ups in the gravitron. One of the best back shaping exercises for anyone who can’t pull up on the bar. The basic principle of action is to maximize stretching and muscle contraction.
Traction of the horizontal and lower block. This exercise completely replaces the barbell row or dumbbell in an incline and allows you to perfectly work out the back muscles in the horizontal plane due to a variety of grips and handles.
Bench press. An alternative to the free weight squat. On the platform, the load on the spine is practically excluded, but at the same time the muscles of the buttocks and legs are worked out very well.