Several years ago I was the manager at a packing and shipping store in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. An elderly lady walked into the store to ship a small package. I took the small box to the peanut machine (styrofoam peanuts for packing); a couple peanuts fell on the floor. I then bent down to pick them up and “snap, crackle, pop” my back gave out on me. Hunched over and sweating prefusely, the little old lady asked if I needed assistance. She then helped me up and placed me in a chair.
I was only 25 years old! How does this happen to a young man?!
Today’s society is plagued by postural imbalances, mainly due to sedentary lifestyles caused by seated desk jobs, bad workout habits and advancements in technology. Most people are spending a lot of time in office-related jobs which require them to be seated for long periods of time; not only is this not conducive to calorie burning but the seated position is one of the WORST postures our backs can be subjected to. Not only are the tissues in the lumbar spine (lower back) under a tremendous amount of stress while seated but our muscles begin to adapt to this posture, rendering us with chronic muscle imbalances. These imbalances determine the way our bodies move and have a strong correlation with joint health and subsequent pain. When one piece of the kinetic chain is not properly functioning, it can alter the rest of the operating systems. Much like the old saying “you are only as strong as your weakest link”, the same applies to the human body.
What are the hazards of postural imbalances?
It can lead to muscular imbalances, chronic lower back pain (computer back), weak gluteal muscles that usually lead to lower back pain, sciatica (pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg), anterior pelvic tilt (protruding abdominal), lower crossed syndrome.
This subject is personal to me because I fell into the “blame your desk job” category. I developed lower back pain “computer back”, knee pain, a serious case of APT (Anterior Pelvic Tilt) and lowered crossed syndrome. I never understood why I had all these issues until I started researching and learning; I discovered what my postural imbalances were, why I developed them, and how to correct them.
APT is when excessive anterior pelvic tilt can contribute heavily to postural dysfunction; as the pelvis tilts anteriorly, the thigh bones rotate inward, causing an increased stress on the medial (inside) portion of the knee joints. This was very frustrating for me because my lower abdominal would protrude. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have an ounce of fat, APT will make your lower abdominal stick out (unattractive).
“Lower Crossed Syndrome” is similar to APT. It is basically the combination of tight hip flexors and tight lower back, paired with weak abdominals and weak glutes. This combination leads to an excessive arching in your lower back, a flaccid or protrudingabdomen and a flat butt due to the weakness of the glutes. This muscle imbalance imposes excessive stresses on the lower back with or without heavy lifting, bending, twisting or turning.
The photo below illustrates anterior and posterior pelvic tilt.
HOW TO CORRECT POSTURAL IMBALANCES:
#1 Maintain proper posture on a daily basis.
While at work sitting at your desk, make yourself aware of keeping good posture. This can be difficult at first, but here are a few things that I did to optimize my body positioning.
Lower the height of your chair so that your back touches the back of the chair and your feet rest firmly on the floor slightly in front of you.
Center the keyboard in front of you and position your screen so that the toolbar is eyelevel for you.
The keyboard and mouse should be moved close to the edge of the desk and your wrists should be supported by a gel pad or wrist support.
Avoid repetitive gripping of the mouse.
Get up from your chair every 20 minutes, stretch for about 30 seconds, and sit back down. Never be seated for more than 20 minutes. Yes, this also applies to when you’re sitting on the coach at home!
Every morning, wake up and stretch for 5-10 minutes. Perform dynamic stretches designed to correct anterior pelvic tilt, lower crossed syndrome and other muscular imbalances. If you want to know which stretches I perform every day, justbook an online sessionor an in person session with me — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
#3 Develop a strong core.
The cornerstone of all athletic movements is the core muscles. You can train to increase strength, power, speed, agility, and quickness but if your core muscles are weak you will not reap the full benefits. The core muscles serve as a force couple to transfer the power developed in the hips and legs into the arms and vice-versa. The SHREDFAT INC program not only helps you shred unwanted fat, it also helps develop overall core strength, and it teaches you value of core muscle coordination, AND you can do it from the comfort of your own living room! These exercises place the body in an unbalanced position help to develop the needed strength and coordination needed for your core muscles to function properly. This is CRUCIAL to correcting postural imbalances.
My knee problems are currently nonexistent. My APT and “lower crossed syndrome” are about 100% corrected. I owe this all to my weight loss via Shakeology, my SHREDFAT program and the tips I previously discussed. Smart interval training is so important because it helps maintain proper balance between each of your muscle group. Exercises for each muscle group promote optimal growth and are way more effective. This is simply because muscles work in pairs and not keeping the balance between opposing ones can also mean not getting the best results out of your workouts, which also prevents muscle imbalances.