There are all sorts of lifestyle factors that can lead to poor posture. One of the main culprits is a desk job, which can lead to a weak core, tight hips, hunching and the list goes on.
Other factors that may lead to bad posture include – but are not limited to:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Joint stiffness
- Decreased fitness
- Muscle weakness and tightness
- Poor core stability
- Poor ergonomic work stations
- Bad habits of not being aware of correct posture
Having bad posture can lead to a number of painful conditions including neck, shoulder and arm pain, back pain, postural dysfunction, knee and foot problems, to name a few, which is why the exercises below are crucial for anyone suffering the side-effects of the cubicle. For more information, check out our blog post dedicated to ergonomics in the workplace.
It’s also important to be aware of ‘Upper-Crossed Syndrome’ and ‘Lower-Crossed Syndrome’, two postural patterns an office worker may be suffering from, so you can work-out which exercises will alleviate your discomfort. Both of these patterns, though, are exacerbated by a “sitting” lifestyle.
What it looks like: Top of the pelvis is tilted forward, low back curve with the belly out.
- Tight (spasming) hamstrings and weak glutes. The hamstrings are compensating for weak glutes, which can lead to many other compensations and injuries.
- Low back pain
- IT band pain a.k.a. runner’s knee.
Exercises to help with Lower-Crossed Syndrome
Lunge with hip flexor stretch
It’s beneficial to do this exercise daily to stretch the hip flexor muscles, to prevent them from becoming shortened and tighter over time. It is also great to strengthen your gluts.
- Start standing and take a step forward into a lunge position with one leg bent out in front of you. Keep your pelvis nice and straight with your shoulders back.
- Lean forward into the lunge. You should feel a good stretch deep in your groin area.
- You can add in some variations to this exercise depending on how flexible you feel. Either by reaching one arm up and stretching to one side or pulling the kneeling foot towards your butt.
- Then simply step back into a standing position and change the leg that steps forward
These help to strengthen the sides of your hips (Gluteus Medius) and prevent iliotibial band syndrome.
- Using a resistance band, tie it in a knot to make a loop then place it around your ankles.
- Go into a squat position, getting down as low as you can with your chest and head up.
- Start walking side-ways and remember to keep your hips low. The lower you go the stronger the exercise. Go outbound 10-15 steps and inbound 10-15 steps.
What it looks like: Head and neck jutting forward, shoulders are rounded forward, upper back is curved into a hunchback.
- Shoulder instability, injury, pain
- Neck pain and stiffness
Exercises to help with Upper-Crossed Syndrome
This is a really good exercise for computer workers or if you get tight shoulders and neck pain it will be really helpful.
- Stand up straight and elongate your neck
- Move your head back and tuck in your chin without bending your neck forward (as if you are doing a double-chin)
- Next elongate your neck forward pushing out the chin
- Repeat the movement.
This exercise is great as a postural building kind of exercise, especially if you spend a lot of time hunched over.
- Lie flat on your stomach with your arms down at your side
- Lift the head and chest upwards off the ground while turning your hands outwards and your thumbs point towards the ceiling.
- Squeeze the shoulder blades together.
- If you get low back pain doing this movement you can squeeze the glutes together.
- Keep a neutral spine alignment and keep your eyes looking towards the ground.
- Hold for 30 seconds with a 15 second rest in between until you achieve a total of three minutes.