Exercise is the best way to combat a sedentary working day, as sitting at a computer can have a detrimental impact on your muscles and joints. However, many people make the mistake of practising poor form while exercising, which can cause a number of structural and postural problems by itself. The two most damaging forms of exercise for poor posture are cycling and swimming, so below are the effects that poor form can have on your body and how to rectify this:
Cycling is a great cardio-vascular exercise that can help you manage your weight, control your blood pressure, and significantly increase your lower-body strength. However, it is important to notice that cycling can have a detrimental impact on your upper body if proper precautions aren't taken whilst cycling. The reason for this is that the posture adopted during cycling can cause rounding of the shoulders, bringing your head forward from its natural position and weakening the supporting muscles over time.
To understand the effect of cycling on the upper body, you must first understand the muscles that are in play while you're on the road. The biggest muscular imbalance that cycling can cause is related to the chest and upper-back areas. Whilst on your bike, your shoulders are rotated forward to grab the handlebars, stretching your deltoids, rhomboids, and trapeziums. This has the consequence of tightening your pectoral muscles, causing your chest to contract and become smaller.
Over time, this can cause a rounding of the upper back, which is held in this position due to the muscular imbalance between your chest and upper back. To prevent this from happening, consider the following tips:
Tilt the nose of your saddle down 10-15 degrees to give your pelvis enough room to tilt forward. This will put your spine in a neutral position that will help avoid any postural problems from occurring.
Whilst riding, lean the entire trunk of your upper body forward to the handlebars, rather than simply rolling your shoulders forward. Pinch your scapula (shoulder blades) together to ensure your spine stays neutral whilst cycling.
To rectify poor posture caused by cycling, you'll have to open up your chest and rib-cage area with some muscle-specific stretches. This will restore balance to your upper body and ensure your spine stays neutral during your day-to-day life.
Swimming has a similar effect on the body as cycling does. Whilst it is a great full-body exercise for toning and strengthening your muscles, the posture adopted during swimming have a negative effect on your normal standing posture. The extent of this depends entirely on which type of stroke you typically practice; butterfly swimming will have a bigger impact on your body than breast stroke.
For regular swimmers, one of the biggest problem areas is the lower back. The lumbar spine naturally has a gentle C-configuration, curving towards the front of your body to offset the curvature of the thoracic (middle) spine. In swimmers, however, there is often a rotation of the hip that causes this portion of the spine to be held straight. This is often referred to as posterior pelvic tilt, and can be rectified in the following ways:
Stretch the posterior hip muscles to restore balance to the area. The best stretches for targeting this area include standing lunges, kneeling lunges, and bridge positions.
Stretch out the hamstrings as tight hamstrings can pull on the hip flexors, pulling them out of their original position. The best hamstring stretches are touching your toes (static) and swinging your leg forwards and backwards, getting higher every time (dynamic).
Another great way to release the hip flexors is to practice self-myofascial release. This involves rolling on a foam mater in order to stimulate the trigger points in the area and open the muscles up.
The benefits of exercise shouldn't be understated, and by following the above tips, you can greatly improve your overall health whilst maintaining a strong and neutral posture. For more information on health and fitness related topics, contact a practice like Dynamic Rehabilitation Services.
Hello. Welcome to my site. I'm Vanessa Bulger. I have a newfound passion for online personal training after struggling for years with my weight and lack of muscle tone. I never believed I could be fit and strong before coming across personal trainers online. Instead, I simply believe the family ideology that we were big boned people who could not lose weight. Turns out, we simply didn't understand the mechanics of a good diet and exercise program. I followed my trainer's advice and, much to my surprise, slowly started to lose weight and gain strength. Today, I am fit, toned and couldn't be happier. I'd like to share information about the exciting online personal training industry with you through this site. I hope my information will inspire others to take control of their lives and improve their health with the help of a personal trainer. Thanks for visiting.