Did you know that poor posture is seen in greater than 70% of work place injuries? Poor posture indicates that muscles and joints are under stress, and this imbalance causes muscles and joints to have to work too hard or inefficiently which can lead to inhibited performance and potential for injury. Poor posture can develop from overuse in certain sports (for example, 1-sided sports such as golf or tennis), repetitive stress injuries (doing the same movements over and over), or muscular imbalance (stronger dominant side).
It is important to work on endurance, stability, balance, and flexibility to keep the spine and body strong and fit maintaining good posture. Let's talk about each of these.
The first step is aerobic. You can build up to 30 minutes 3-5 times a week with an elliptical trainer, running, stairmaster, swimming, biking, etc. Aerobic training also strengthens muscles making agility drills easier with an aerobic base (think sideways running, skipping, etc.)
Prepare the body to move in short bursts. Turns and lots of spinal rotations can put a lot of stress on the knees, so be careful and keep good form! Focus on plyometrics which develop explosive, quick movements to generate muscle power and speed (try squat jumps and box jumps).
Most of your balance comes from your core, which doesn’t just mean your abs. You must be aware that the front and back of the body have to be equally strong. Balance is important for quick reaction times, so incorporate a BOSU ball into your workout while doing lunges, squats, or single-leg exercises.
Studies show that a 15% imbalance in flexibility increases your injury risk by 2 ½ times! So stretching before a workout protects against injury, improves motion and flexibility, and stretching after a workout helps the muscles to return to normal length. Also remember that connective tissue such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons shorten over time, so stretching is important especially as we age. Try yoga for a fun and great workout promoting flexibility as well as strength.
In conclusion, human movement and function requires a balance of muscle length and strength between opposing muscles surrounding a joint. Focussing on these four fundamentals will take you far, but remember that the only way to actually correct imbalance is through chiropractic adjustments. In my experience, you are always better off first correcting the spinal misalignments before working on your posture with exercise. The two together are an unstoppable force for the betterment of your health!