Poor posture is the major cause of work-related back problems. The spine wasn’t designed to sit in front of a computer or behind the steering wheel of a car for long periods of time. But, as reality has it, these activities are here to stay and we need to be proactive in finding ways to prevent injury to our spine. We’re all guilty of slouching or hunching at our computer, however, consciously correcting our posture throughout the day is one way of being preventative.
Good posture requires core activation. Proper core activation is something that needs to be practiced regularly, and only with practice, will it become a habit. Until it becomes subconscious, we need to consciously check ourselves throughout the day and make sure we are engaging our core muscles.
Core activation requires the contraction of the deep abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominus, and the contraction of the pelvic floor muscles (which I often refer to as the “pee” muscles). Together, these muscles, when contracted, help to support and protect the spinal cord from stress and injury.
How do you properly activate the core muscles? Pretend to blow out a candle by deeply exhaling. This action causes a contraction of the transverse abdominus which is responsible for forced exhalation. Now, once the core is activated, we need to make sure our torso is upright and our spine is straight. Imagine a puppet string attached to the top of your head; pretend to pull that string straight up, therefore, straightening out your spine. The last part requires pulling our shoulders and head back. And there you have it, perfect posture!
By practicing this as often as you can, where ever you are, you’ll become aware of your posture and will eventually be able to catch yourself slouching or hunching. Good posture will not only save your back, but it’ll make you appear more confident, and taller!