Better posture isn’t the answer - it's a symptom of something else
The pandemic, and working from home, has led to us spending long hours in awkward body positions, typically resulting in hunching our shoulders forward. NYC dentist Tammy Chen, says “I’ve seen more tooth fractures in the last six weeks than in the previous six years".
It’s not just fractures but jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, achiness in the cheeks and migraines — sound familiar?
The simple, universal cure is an appeal to "better posture". However, this is not the cure, as "better posture" is often a prescription for the wrong disease.
In this post, I'll explain what the real cause it, and cures that work. This will not necessarily get you sitting up in a textbook posture, but it should cure you from damaging your teeth.
Do the opposite of what you've read elsewhere
For many years, after my gym sessions and before stretching, performed ab wheel rollouts. I did them with good form and in full control. I added progressions and felt myself getting stronger and even more stable.
But I was puzzled why, no matter how strong I became, the dull ache in my lower back never disappeared.
Proven to be better than yoga for a sore lower back
My hamstrings have been tightening since we've had lockdown and gyms closed. I've been running more, a lot more. Running pits the quads and hamstrings in battle, and the quads win, which tightens the hamstrings by stretching them.
Typically, for runners, tight hamstrings reflect in a sore lower back. The combination of two recent research studies will help.
If you can do one, I'll show you to get to 15
Pull-ups are a fantastic pull exercise, and we don't do enough pull exercises. That's why we see so many rounded-hunched shoulders in the gym, and they look bad on men and even worse on women (because it makes them look so much older).
It's a shame to see people putting in all that work and building a poor posture instead of a stronger one. Pulls-ups develop a more robust and more attractive posture. If you can do one proper pull-up, I'll show you how to build that up to 15.
Have fun retraining your brain to fix your sore knees
Walking better will give you a better posture, a visceral pleasure in propelling your body forward and may help you live longer. And you won't even have to look like a serious walker.
Even better, it will rebalance your body and ease some of your pains, especially if you have been using treadmills too much.
It will only add 2 minutes
At-home workouts often lack a good pull exercise. People, in general, don't do enough pulling movements, even when the gym is open.
There are two I recommend. Add these to your routine as otherwise, you'll not be getting the total body benefits you need during #StayAtHome.
When the gym was open, I always rowed every session and did other pull exercises such as rope pulls and cable pulls. I don't have that access now.
You can beat fragility
I'm disappointed when I see someone prematurely fragile. Fragility is associated with a shorter lifespan, and with being put into care earlier - losing your independence.
It disappoints me because, with some simple additions to your lifestyle, you can significantly delay fragility caused by loss of bone and muscle mass.
I did a bone density scan last year, and it showed me having 25% better bone mass than males my age, and 5% better than the average 25-year-old male.
80% of the value is in the last 30% of the proper form
I was hooked on Russian Twists for a long time - over a decade. One day an instructor at the gym told me that at my age, it was a poor choice of exercise—too much tension on the lower back.
The answer was to move to exercises which extend our spine, not contract it. This is especially more beneficial as we get older.
It makes sense when you think about it. Being hunched over a desk and learning towards a computer screen all day compresses the lower spine (and pulls a whole lot of other things out of shape).
You Need To Do More Pull Exercises. Here's How To Condition Your Pull Posture To Make Them More Comfortable.
I hated doing them also, until now
For me, and others I see at the gym, doing "pull" exercises is not common. Not as common as "push" exercises.
The "pull" that I don't look forward to is bent-over rows - in whatever form. They pull at my hamstrings.
A simple "natural movement" has helped me be more willing to do more bent-over rows. That's important because we all need more balance between push and pull.
Here's what I learned, and now do daily.
Be careful while brushing your teeth
The thought of a bad back strikes fear into all of us.
We know people living with bad backs and it's painful just watching them live their daily life.
My wife hit the wall with her back in too many falls as a short-track speed skater in Japan. She has chronic pain from fractured vertebrae. To be honest, I can't image how hard it must be to live with that every day.
As it turns out, the source of common back pain is a bit of an enigma.
We most often think of injuring ourselves during heavy lifting. But statistically 95% of people experience a back injury as a result of something like bending over to brush their teeth !
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter