The human body evolved over millennia to stand upright, its bones and muscles seamless when they’re unfurled. Yet the modern office conspires to constrict, to roll shoulders forward and tip hips back, your joints locked in positions that fight their anatomy. Your daily transition from bed to office chair to sofa to bed sends tingles down your arms, or lights bonfires in your lower back.
“The comfortable slouched position isn’t the best for your body, even though it’s the easiest,” says Leo Savage, personal trainer at London’s Third Space gym. Spend too long curled up and your ligaments and tendons, which your anchor muscles and bones, contract. You’re pulled into tighter shapes, your spine curls, your shoulders slump forward and put pressure on your neck. You seem to physically diminish as poor posture lops inches off your height.
After years spent in supplication to your screen, you need to see the light. “Your postural problems can lead to extra strain on your muscles and soft tissues,” says Savage. “This in turn can lead to chronic injuries which can be very painful.” Muscle weakness and imbalances can make that blaze up your back permanent. You need to stand up, and not feel the burn.
First, try swapping your conventional desk for a sit-stand version (£295, varidesk.com) and build from 20-minute stints until you’re spending most of the day on your feet, with your body as evolution intended. As you spend more time upright, you’ll notice discomfort in new areas as long dormant muscles wake up. You core, glutes and delts will be weak, your joints inflexible. Which are as bad for your physique as your health.
“When your spine is out of alignment, this transfers into everything you do in the gym,” says Savage. “When executing exercises with a poor posture, you are then led to recruit different muscles to compensate for your imbalances.” You need to focus on your posterior chain – those muscles behind that pull your body back and up to counter slouching. Work though this circuit three times a week to unlock your muscles and beat back pain for good.
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