As a university student, you may spend long hours typing essays on the computer. And as you enter the workforce, you may continue to spend hours on the computer each day with a 10am to 7pm schedule. If you have poor posture, combined with a hunched back, it can lead to chronic pain in the neck and shoulder areas. As someone who works at a computer all day, I understand the “heavy burden” that can accumulate in the shoulders.
Many of us believe that a simple massage or therapy can fix the problem. However, it’s more important to address the underlying issue of poor sitting posture to truly reduce the habit.
The root cause of this issue is often due to the lack of exercise in office workers, leading to weakened muscles that are unable to properly support the body. As a result, we may adopt a more comfortable posture that requires less effort, leading to bad posture habits.
Common Posture Problems
Fitness coach Ami highlights that due to prolonged periods of sitting in front of a computer, many individuals tend to unconsciously bring their heads closer to the screen, exacerbating the impact of their phone usage. Common posture issues for women include “rounded shoulders”, “turtle neck”, and “hunchback”, where the neck and shoulder area protrudes, potentially leading to neck problems and decreased quality of life.
Aside from upper body posture problems, women in office jobs often sit for extended periods while slouching or sitting improperly, leading to pelvic tilt or twist, occasional back pain, and even the “belly pooch” phenomenon.
It’s important to note that these posture problems not only cause discomfort but also have external implications for women’s appearance and body shape. Ami stresses that persistent poor posture habits can make individuals look tired and unenergetic, leading to a hunched back and other body shape issues such as uneven shoulders, unequal legs, and a lopsided waist. In summary, even if one is not overweight, bad posture habits can create an unflattering appearance and undermine self-confidence concerning their own body shape.
Fitness coach Ami explains that weak back, core, and glute muscles are the root cause of the most common posture problems faced by women who work desk jobs. To address these issues, she recommends several strengthening exercises:
For the lower body, exercises such as squats, hip thrusts, deadlifts, and single-leg lunges are especially effective.
Both deadlifts and squats are multi-joint compound exercises that strengthen not only the legs and glutes but also the entire core. Squats primarily target the glutes, quadriceps, and inner thighs, while deadlifts engage the body’s largest muscle groups, including the glutes, legs, back, waist, and core. Strengthening these muscles can provide greater support and improve sitting posture over time. The muscle groups targeted by squats are illustrated in the diagram below:
By incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine, you can strengthen your muscles and improve your overall posture, reducing the risk of pain and discomfort associated with extended sitting.
The hip thrust exercise involves sitting against the backrest of a hip thrust machine with your shoulder blades. Keep your feet slightly apart and bent, and use your glutes and heels to thrust upwards, holding the position for one to two seconds before relaxing and repeating the movement.
While performing the exercise, remember to tighten your chin and abdominal muscles and lift your hips to the horizontal line. This exercise is an effective way to strengthen your glutes, reduce pressure on your lower back and knees, and lower the risk of injury.
To strengthen your upper body, exercises like seated row, lat pulldown, and reverse fly can be beneficial. For instance, lat pulldowns can help you target your latissimus dorsi muscle while also engaging other muscles like trapezius, rhomboids, and biceps. Strengthening these areas can improve your overall upper body strength, and even help correct issues like poor posture or weak upper body muscles.
However, it’s important to approach these exercises carefully, especially if you’re new to fitness. Working with a qualified trainer can ensure you use the proper form and technique, reducing the risk of injury or strain. As fitness coach Ami advises, it’s also essential to focus on accuracy in your movements. Overusing certain muscles can impede your progress and limit your results.
Accurate movement is essential, as failing to do so can easily result in overused muscles, such as the trapezius or quadriceps, thus impeding progress. Getting it right from the start is key.– Fitness Coach Ami
For beginners, doing the exercises mentioned above twice a week for around a week should be enough. By targeting and strengthening your weaker muscles to improve your posture, you’ll look and feel great, even if you don’t necessarily shed any pounds. The editor believes that the most challenging part is starting out when your muscles aren’t used to weight training, and it can be tough. But with consistent practice, you’ll notice your muscles slowly changing and your abilities gradually improving.
In life, many things don’t guarantee results through effort and persistence, but in this real world, fitness is a sport that visibly rewards each bit of perseverance and effort you put in. That’s why fitness enthusiasts love it – you get a sense of satisfaction from working hard and seeing results, and it also teaches you that laziness will hinder your progress. And so, in the realm of fitness, it’s definitely worth putting in serious effort to rebuild your confidence.– editor’s note.