Body Sense

Spring 2012

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Strengthen Your Posture Sit Stronger to Control Back Pain By Steven Weiniger If you have back pain, you probably know your posture isn't good. If you sit for much of your waking day, you're training your body to be slumped over into folded, or "weak," posture. However, even though you may never be perfectly straight, there are ways to relieve your pain by strengthening your posture. Low-back pain from sitting is a result of mechanical stress on Stand Up for Your Life By Darren Buford Managing Editor, A recent trend has offi ce employees ditching their desk chairs and taking to their feet: stand-working. Turns out that sitting all day, every day, can be downright dangerous. Sitting weakens the body's muscles and increases one's risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, as well as metabolic symptoms. Changeable workstations equipped with lifts or hydraulics present an alternative to sitting. They can transition from a desk that fi ts a chair to a desk that perfectly matches your standing height, giving you the ability to move from a standing position to a sitting position throughout the day. Standing while working has many benefi ts, including increasing the blood fl ow to your brain, which, in turn, increases concentration and creativity. It has been estimated that standing requires 20 percent more energy than sitting and may burn 200-plus calories per day. If stand-working isn't an option at your offi ce, try getting up whenever possible and stretching or going for a short walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk to speak to your coworkers rather than sending emails. Rick Giase Photography Daily Posture Exercise Sit tall and strong on the front edge of a chair or ball, as you cross your left leg over the right knee. Pull your belly in to brace your core. As you breathe out, keep your head and shoulders aligned as you pull your body forward. Take 2–3 breaths, and come up with your posture still strong. Repeat on the other side. the body. This is called poor biomechanics. When the body is not mechanically well aligned, posture, and therefore balance, is weak. When you stand up with weak posture, the simple act of balancing will overwork some muscles and cause stress on joints. The key to reducing this strain is to improve balance and the ability to control how you balance, and to retrain muscles and nerves for less pain and better function. Step one toward stronger posture is improving the symmetry of how your body moves on each side. In fact, just changing the position from which you move can help free up locked and stiff joints, resulting in stronger posture and less pain. The Sitting Leg-Cross Stretch (below) is an easy back and hip stretch you can do at your desk. You can use your offi ce chair or, if you want to challenge yourself, do the stretch while sitting on an exercise ball. B S Steven Weiniger, DC, is the author of Stand Taller—Live Longer: An Anti-Aging Strategy. He created the StrongPosture exercise programs taught by certifi ed posture exercise professionals, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, and other body professionals who promote the importance of posture. For more StrongPosture information, visit B o d y S e n s e ▼

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