Lower back and neck

Summer activities such as hiking, rollerblading, kayaking, and tennis demand an array of functions from the muscles and joints; bending, rotating, extending, lunging, and squatting keep the muscles supple. When activity declines in winter there is no counter to the static computing postures held at a workstation for hours on end. The result is muscle stiffness and tightness, which if left unchecked, results in postural deviation such as anterior head carriage (head forward posture) and rounded shoulders.

Both of these conditions are as physically problematic as they are aesthetically displeasing. To prevent your head from leaning forward, adjust your chair’s height and distance from the monitor. Sitting tall, with your back against the back of your chair, place the monitor at an arm’s length away from you and be sure that your eyes are level with the top line of text in your documents. You really do not want weak abdominals and a protruding abdomen, do you? Sitting for extended periods of time causes the muscles of the hip flexors and the lower back to become short and tight. This will tilt the pelvis forward and ‘turn off’ the abdominal muscles, allowing them to relax, weaken, and protrude. Take frequent breaks to stand stretch the lower back and hips. Reduce pressure on the back of the thighs and increase circulation by adjusting the height and depth of your chair. Avoid sitting in a chair with a seatpan that tilts backward. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest, and avoid tucking your feet under your chair.

Strengthening

  1. Partial sit-up (easy crunch).
  2. Do the pelvic tilt. While holding this position, curl your head and shoulders up and forward until your head and shoulders up and forward until your shoulder blade is off the floor. (Do not “lead” with your chin – keep it tucked in.) Hold briefly. Return slowly to he starting position.
  3. Lumbar rotation.
  4. Start with your back, shoulders, and arms flat on the floor. With your knees together roll them to one side as far as you can without lifting your shoulder off the floor. Hold for five seconds and repeat on the other site.
  5.  Trunk extension, prone (chest raise).
  6. Lie on stomach. Push up with your arms. Keep your hands on the floor. Let your stomach muscles relax and your back sag. Be careful not to bend back too far. Hold for five seconds. Return to the starting position.
  7.  Wall squat (half squat).
  8. Lean against a smooth wall with your feet pointing straight ahead, heels about 50 cm (centimeters) or 20 Inch (inches) from the wall. Slowly slide down the wall until your knees are bent to 90°. Hold for 4 – 8 seconds and slide back up. As you become stronger, increase the time you hold the squat.

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