Improve Your Posture: Three Ways To Support And Strengthen Your Spine

07/04/2016 5:58 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Businessman slouching in front of laptop

It’s true that the majority of us are slaves to our computer and once we leave the office, we become slaves to our phone.

Sure, we might’ve squeezed in 45 minutes of cardio between then, but we all know it’s not nearly enough -- nor is it any good for our posture.

“When the muscles of the body align properly, you have good posture which allows for efficient movement however, when you are poorly aligned, some muscles work a lot harder than others,” Olga Tamara, principal trainer at Authentic Pilates Education Australia told The Huffington Post Australia.

As a result of not being aligned properly, Tamara said we experience an imbalance in the muscles as the muscles that are overworked tense and tighten while those underworked become weaker.

“This eventually puts extra strain on the joints as they are restricted in movement creating a domino effect in the body which leads to pain and discomfort,” Tamara said.

While Pilates in particular targets the muscles that are in charge of supporting our spine (specifically the deep abdominal muscles, deep back muscles and pelvic floor) there are other ways of supporting these muscles that has a lot to do with simply moving.

“We spend so much time at the computer, slouched when driving, reading and eating -- in fact, almost every task or action we do during the day involves some sort of unsupported flexion of the body,” Tamara said.

Here are three easy, simple ways to improve and support your posture.

Stand up every 20 minutes (yes, really)

Studies show we can only concentrate for 45 minutes at a time before we should be taking a break but according to Tamara, we should be cutting that time in half. "Try to stand up every 20 minutes -- even if it’s just for a short period," Tamara said.

While you’re up, have a stretch

If you’re getting up for a tea or coffee, or heading to the bathroom use it as an opportunity to stretch. “Use a doorway to stretch the upper back. Place arms on the frame of the door and lean forward through the doorway -- this stretches the thoracic spine,” Tamara said.

Stretch your hamstrings

Many people tend to have a posture type called a “flat back” which is associated with tight hamstrings and weak, long hip flexors.

“Work on opening the sides of the body and stretching the hamstrings,” Tamara said.

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