Let’s face it: we as human beings are habitual creatures. The majority of the population will begin their day by rolling out of bed the same direction after sleeping in the same position they have been in all night. From there they will brush their teeth in the same order as the previous day and wash their hair in the same motion.
This will continue as we sit in our car and sit at a desk. A common work shift can include up to 8 hours of sitting at a desk, writing, or typing on a computer. As our body adapts to this seated environment we will create abnormally tight and shortened muscles, specifically the hip flexors, hamstrings, chest and traps. This seated position can also cause other muscles to become long and weak from constantly being in a stretched position like the rear shoulders, rhomboids (between your shoulder blades), lower back muscles and glutes.
As these muscles continue to tighten and lengthen we create postural problems and joint dysfunction that can lead to serious injury.
If this describes you, the good news is that there are some simple ways to provide relief and change up your habits. Here are some great tips to break the routine into a healthier lifestyle:
Sleep Directly on your Back:
Sleeping on your side puts your shoulders in a forward position all night, causing your chest muscles to become even tighter and decreased function in your shoulders. Sleeping on your back will help decrease the stress placed on your neck and allow gravity to work for you by pulling your shoulders back into neutral position.
Even Up Your Habits:
Our dominant hand will always feel more comfortable completing daily tasks. It’s time to get your other side involved in tasks such as carrying a purse, bookbag, or groceries. With anything that can be completed with either hand, make the conscious effort to use both evenly.
Stretch/ Self Myofascial Release:
3. Hip Flexors
1. Back Muscles (Posterior Deltoid, rhomboids)
2. Lower back
3. Deep core stabilizers
Avoid Repetitive Workouts!
Continuous repetitive workouts are one of the worst causes for postural issues as well as overuse injuries. Many of the injuries occur over a long period of time without any signs of pain. After too much abuse on the joint from being repetitively used in the incorrect way you will see the injury occur. A very common example is overuse shoulder injuries that occur from too much boxing. Boxing is a great workout but should never be done more than 1-2 times a week.
The issue with boxing is that it stresses your anterior (front) side of the body, causing shortening and tightening of the muscles that are already tight and causing poor posture. As these muscle continue to get tighter the shoulders will get pulled forward causing the standard “poor posture” look. This vicious cycle causes the shoulder to be stressed daily and then especially during workouts until an injury occurs. Be sure to incorporate extra pulling workouts and lots of anterior stretching when boxing!