In a world where most people spend hours on end staring at screens, our posture seems to be deteriorating very rapidly, leading to a variety of problems including back, neck and even knee pain and injuries. Few of us consider how we sit at our desks, the chairs we are sitting on, or the height of our screens. We also ignore how we sit on the couch, or even how we stand when in the kitchen cooking.
Unless you were sent off to Ballet class, or have traumatic memories of forced to walk around with books on your head in your younger years, chances are you haven’t spent much time focusing on your posture as you have entered adulthood, and yet one of the leading causes of back pain comes down to posture.
Often the way you sit or stand leads to compensating of other muscles. Think do you always put more pressure on one leg, rather than the other? That one leg is receiving extra strain, the muscles are over activating and the hip joint is receiving unnecessary strain, however until pointed out to you it is unlikely you think about this on a regular basis so the strain goes on day in and day out. The main muscles that you rely on for postural stability become weak and even lazy (learn more about stability muscles here).
So did you read the above and find yourself mentally ticking off the things you know you do wrong, and consequential aches and pains you get? If you did, then it is time to consider weight training as a solution for your postural problems! We don’t just mean pumping iron, but utilising your own bodyweight to train your muscles through something like Pilates, or Metabolic training
First of all, one crucial element to a world free of back pain is USE YOUR GLUTES! In any weight bearing exercise, you need to ensure you are activating your glutes and they are doing the work, not your lower back. The glutes are one of the largest muscles in the body, and notoriously the laziest. Your core is also vital, remember to activate it in order to protect your lower back as you do any weight based exercise.
Weight training will retrain your muscles to work in the right order and think for themselves. Metabolic training uses the whole body in a full compound exercise (an example a Squat Press utilises muscles from your toes, through to your arms, and you rely on your core to complete the exercises successfully, giving a full body work out with one exercise).
You also need to remember to stretch! Tight muscles can cause just as many postural problems as weakness of the muscles. So after any weight based workout stretch your muscles properly!
If you are interested in more information or would like to get your posture sorted check out the Take Shape Health and Fitness timetable and look for Metafit/HIIT classes or Core Strength classes to get your posture on track.