Our body thrives on variety and frequent movement, the spine is no different.When we think about perfect posture we often imagine a beautifully upright, symmetrical position, but in musculoskeletal medicine there’s a saying; “the best posture was the last posture you were in”.
What this is trying to tell us is that our body prefers to frequently experience a variety of movement and postures. Just like the rest of life, not too much and not too little is usually the right amount.Our lumbar spine especially, does not like to spend too much time in any posture, even the so called ‘perfect posture’. One trap people often fall into is spending too much time with their lumbar spine in a rounded, flexed posture, for example sitting down to eat breakfast, to tie their shoe laces, to drive to work, sitting at work, driving home etc. Remarkably, we then often continue this at the gym or in other forms of exercise by sitting on machines, performing ab crunches, lumbar rolls, forward folds and child’s pose, all exercises that produce the same lumbar spine flexed posture.This isn’t to say that lumbar spine flexion is bad. It just highlights an absence of movement variety and putting our body’s through too much of one thing.
Some simple tips to counteract sitting for too long are:
1. Get up and move every 20 minutes, even if it’s for just 1 minute.
2. Alternate between different chairs or chair height / settings
3. Wiggle when you’re sitting
Try the following movements:
- Simply walking
- Wall supermans
- Wall side planks