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Exercises to Help Maintain Good Body Posture


In this digital age, where most of our work has to be done at a computer desk, we are no strangers to the sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, constantly sitting down can lead to health problems, including bad posture. Good posture is achieved through the “head, shoulder, and spinal posture behavior because they influence and are influenced by many biomechanical, motor control and performance variables” [1]. Without good posture, our bodies are at risk of developing “an increased risk of premature mortality and related cardiovascular and metabolic abnormalities,” as well as “an independent risk factor for musculoskeletal discomfort” [2].


If you often find yourself sitting in a slumped position, this may result in “residual deformations (i.e., creep) in the spine’s viscoelastic tissue” [2]. This is something that you will probably find often in long-distance truck drivers. They will usually have a “sitting period of 4.5 h” with short breaks in between, and this slumped position may feel good in the moment because it feels more relaxing for the muscles [2]. Long-term, this can lead to “spasms and reflexive hyperexcitability of the spinal muscles” [2].


In a Brazilian study, students were evaluated after doing “stretching and strengthening exercises, twice a week, for eight weeks in group sessions” [3]. The stretching and strengthening exercises showed improvements regarding musculoskeletal pain and shoulder posture. However, there wasn’t a significant different for other aspects regarding posture. Still, we can see that stretching and doing certain exercises can improve our upper body posture.


If you are used to working a sedentary job, set aside some time to stretch. Letting your body get out of the slumped sitting position in any way will help, and movement in general will help you to get your blood flowing, allowing you to work more efficiently. Some exercises that you can do to strengthen your posture include: walking, biking, stretching, and aerobic exercises [4].


References:

1. Bayattork M, Sköld MB, Sundstrup E, Andersen LL. Exercise interventions to improve postural malalignments in head, neck, and trunk among adolescents, adults, and older people: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Exerc Rehabil. 2020 Feb 26;16(1):36-48. doi: 10.12965/jer.2040034.017. PMID: 32161733; PMCID: PMC7056483.


2. Kett AR, Sichting F, Milani TL. The Effect of Sitting Posture and Postural Activity on Low Back Muscle Stiffness. Biomechanics. 2021; 1(2):214-224. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomechanics1020018


3. Batistão, M. V., Carnaz, L., Moreira, R. de F. C., & Sato, T. de O. (2019, February 21). Effects of a muscular stretching and strengthening school-based exercise program on posture, trunk mobility, and musculoskeletal pain among elementary schoolchildren - a randomized controlled trial. Fisioterapia em Movimento. Retrieved March 7, 2023, from https://www.scielo.br/j/fm/a/qZDnrHmq4BMbr6rjbjVfFMC/?lang=en#top


4. Yamak, B., İmamoğlu, O., İslamoğlu, İ., & Çebi, M. (2018). The effects of exercise on body posture. Electronic Turkish Studies, 13(18).


 

Contributors:

Author: Kayjah Taylor

Editor: Lauryn Agron

Health scientist: Catherine Sarwat


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