Strengthening your back and powering yourself as you move with wide, strong strides is critical to a healthy and happy back.  With so many of us sitting too long, the cumulative stress can become a perfect storm for backaches, tight hips, as well as neck and shoulder pain.  Our postural muscles are growing weak with disuse.

Chronic immobility shortens our stability-controlling hip-flexor muscles and it can be uncomfortable moving through daily life with a spine in muscle spasm or the fear of risking disk injury. Performing a simple daily task such as tying a shoelace, bending down to pick up a box, or reaching up for a can of chickpeas high on a pantry shelf can create a painful aftermath if we have not built strong postural muscles and continually work on our coordination.  

Here are a 5 simple things you can begin to correct on your own - TODAY!

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When sitting, add a bolster such as a lumbar pillow, a rolled up towel or blanket, even a partially inflated ball behind your lower back to maintain correct alignment and prevent slouching.  A smart way to check in on your sitting posture is to picture three lines: one across your pelvis, waist and shoulders.  When you find that those lines are no longer parallel to one another (one may have shifted forward because you've leaned over to read or gone lopsided when you cross your legs), make an adjustment to correct this. 

Do not cross your legs while sitting.  Maintain flat feet with your toes pointing forward, slightly lifting your arches and gently opening your knees which will help maintain alignment with ankles, knees, hips and shoulders. 

When sitting and typing on a keyboard, make sure that your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle, your wrists are supported and that the center of your computer screen is positioned just below eye-level. 

If you use a laptop, put it on a stack of books, and type on a separate keyboard if you can.  This is a quick and simple modification that will make you feel so much better.

Every opportunity used to get up to stand up will help alleviate pressure in your spine.  Stand and move every half hour - even if it is only for a few seconds.  Aim for at least two hours of off-chair time every day building yourself up to spending four hours off your chair and on your feet. 

If you are experiencing back tightness, realize that you sit too long each day and would like help with a postural improvement exercise program, call me at 908-723-6979 or head over to my website annpelinointegrativefitness.com.  I can help ensure that you have a variety of safe, easy exercises you can do (most needing no equipment) on a daily basis to quickly help improve your posture and strengthen your core and back muscles.  I would love to help you feel better.

Keep taking good care of yourself,

Ann