As society becomes increasingly reliant on technology, many people are leading sedentary lifestyles and spending more hours sitting hunched over laptops than they do moving. Moreover, as great as technology is, the provision of instant remote communication has reduced the need to get out of the office and walk to meetings, and has even increased working hours, meaning that people often struggle to make it to the gym and contributing to the dramatic increase in the number of reported spinal and musculature-related health problems.
‘Sitting at desks and leaning over laptops for hours on end are well-known causes of back, neck and shoulder pain’ says Harley Street Spinal Surgeon, Dr. Martin Knight. ‘People are spending hours sitting hunched over and increasingly less time moving around. This means that many important muscle groups are not being sufficiently exercised and consequently associated symptoms such as deteriorated back strength; poor posture; musculature problems; internal organ movement; poor blood circulation; and poor lymphatic function are becoming common problems, when, in reality, they needn’t be’
‘To put it into perspective, when you travel by plane you are advised to exercise during the flight to encourage blood circulation and to avoid incurring Deep Vein Thrombosis – something that can be caused by sitting in the same position for long periods of time. If this is the case for one plane journey, it is easy to see why it is important to practice similar exercises in the office, as this is the place where you put your body at risk daily.’
Here are my top 5 back strengthening exercises to help improve posture and protect against back pain.
Why? One of the best exercises to strengthen your upper and lower back muscles at the same time, as well as glutes and hamstring muscles.
2. Glute Bridge
Why? Glutes are an all too often neglected body part. This simple bodyweight exercise will help you activate them, making your body work the way it was designed to and relieving a lot of pressure from your lower back.
3. Kettlebell Swing
Why? A classic exercise for all over posterior strength and muscular endurance. Essential for maintaining good posture and allowing your back to comfortably carry weight.
4. Single Leg Deadlift with Dumbbell
Why? To complete this exercise the torso, hip and pelvis must remain stable, thus strengthening the core and back muscles to resist the rotational forces put on the body.
Too easy? Use 2 dumbbells
5. McKenzie Press-Up
Why? McKenzie’s method of exercise is used worldwide as treatment for back pain and back related problems. This exercise helps strengthen the back as well as increasing the range of flexibility.