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Sep 28

Tip of the Month – September 2020

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Coach Monika Says…

Computer ‘Slouch Posture’ Contributes to Back Problems and More

Given the fact that all of our children and youth have been homebound due to the Coronavirus and busy with online schooling one can safely assume that many athletes have been sitting daily in front of the computer trying to advance their learning. Moreover, they are forced to stay inside because parks and recreation areas are closed, and most likely they entertain themselves with video or computer games. However, partaking in these activities whether online learning or gaming develops ‘poor’ posture due to the forward and rounded shoulder position. Researchers have warned about potential back problems when working in prolonged periods of time in the sitting ‘slouch’ position. This results not only in the rounded shoulder-rounded back syndrome but also starts to affect the lower back, back of the knees, and potentially the ankles!

German News and Magazines have recently posted a series of articles in their ‘Health’ sections, providing helpful exercises related to posture and occurring back issues. Here are examples:

Selected Exercises to Counteract Prolonged Sitting:
1. Sitting Variation #1

Assume sitting position on chair – head facing forward – legs bent at 90-degree angle – feet flat and parallel on floor – arms extended at sides by body – palms facing up – bend upper body slightly forward rounding shoulders – extend arms at sides by chair – palms facing backward – hold 10 seconds – lower arms to sides by body – sit upright – 7-10 repetitions – relax

2. Sitting Variation #2

Assume sitting position on chair – head facing forward – legs bent at 90-degree facing down – lean upper body slightly forward – head looking forward – extend arms out in front parallel to floor – palms facing inward – hold 10 seconds – lower arms to sides by body – sit upright – 7-10 repetitions – relax

3. One-leg Balance – Foot Support on Chair

Stand upright – legs together and parallel – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body – bend L leg placing top of foot on seat of chair – 1- leg balance – foot flat on floor facing forward – maintain upright standing position and 1-leg balance – hold 10 seconds – repeat opposite leg – 7-10 repetitions – relax

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4.L-Sit – Upward Arm Extension with Shoulder Stretch

Assume upright sitting position on floor – legs extended out in in front (L-sit) – maintain erect back position throughout – keep shoulder depressed (down) – extend arms to vertical over-head, turning hands inward (toward body center) – interlock hands – keep shoulder depressed  (down) – hold 10 seconds – lower arms to sides of body – 7-10 repetitions – relax

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5. Knee Scale – Arm Extension Forward – Opposite Leg Extension in Back

Assume kneeling on all 4s – head facing forward or looking to floor – straight arm support under shoulders – palms flat on floor – fingers forward – foot support with toes on floor or on top of foot on floor – back aligned – extend L arm out in front parallel to floor – extend R leg in back parallel to floor – hold 10 second – 7-10 repetitions – repeat opposite side – relax

Leg Variation: Instead of holding leg in parallel position, swing (whip) leg up and down 10-20x – relax

6. Body Bridge in Supine (Body Incline)

Assume supine position on floor (on back) – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body on floor – palms flat on floor – fingers forward – bend legs at 90-degrees – feet together and flat on floor facing forward – use extended arm support to elevate hips to highest position possible – shoulder to knee alignment – hold 7-10 seconds – lower body to supine position on floor – 7-10 repetitions – relax

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7. Standing Yoga Position

Stand upright – feet parallel and hips-width apart – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body – extend arms to vertical overhead – bend elbows to ‘crown-shaped’ position above head – palms touching – fingers pointing upward – hands in ‘prayer’ position – maintain upright standing position – hold 7-10 seconds – lower arms to sides by body – 7-10 repetitions – relax 

8. Yoga Position in Sideways Bend

Stand upright – feet parallel and slightly apart – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body – extend arms to vertical overhead – bend elbows to ‘crown- shape position above head – fold hands to ‘prayer’ position – bend upper body to maximum stretch sideways – depress shoulders – hold 7-10 seconds – return to upright standing – lower arms to sides by body – 7-10 repetitions – repeat opposite side – relax

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9. Kneeling Back Stretch (Cat Curl)

Kneel on all 4s – back aligned – head facing down to floor – top of feet resting on floor/toes facing back – straight arm support under shoulders – palms flat on floor – fingers forward – round back (Cat curl) – hold 10 seconds – resume aligned back position – 7-10 repetitions – relax 

10. Kneeling Back Dip (Cow)

Repeat exercise #9 – head facing up – round back and drop lower back to dip position (back hollows) – hold hollow position 10 seconds – resume aligned back position – 7-10 repetitions – relax 

11. Bent Knee Stance and Forward Body Lean

Variation #1: Stand upright – feet parallel and slightly apart – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body – assume medium knee bend – tilt pelvis to slight sway back (hollow) while leaning upper body slightly forward – extend arms out in front upward to lengthen the spine – palms facing inward – hands in ‘prayer’-position – head between arms – hold 7-10 seconds – return to upright standing – lower arms to sides by body – 7-10 repetitions – relax

Variation #2: Start similar to Exercise #11 

Stand upright – feet parallel and slightly apart – face forward – arms extended at sides by body – assume medium knee bend position – lean upper body slightly forward keeping back aligned – pull abdomen (navel) inward toward the back while rounding the lumbar spine slightly – head between arms – hold 10 seconds – return to upright standing – 7-10 repetitions – relax  

12. Hip Twisters

Variation #1: Assume supine position on floor – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body – palms flat on floor – fingers forward – extend L leg – bend R leg at right angle and rest on top of L leg – use L hand to pull R knee toward L side as upper body follows – place R hand on R shoulder and circle shoulder – 10 repetitions of circles – repeat opposite side – relax

Variation #2: Assume supine position on floor – head facing forward – arms extended at sides by body – palms flat on floor – fingers forward – bend both legs – rotate both legs toward L side – turn head to R side – return –10 repetitions – repeat starting on opposite side, opposite hand on shoulder – relax

References:

Die aktuelle (2020). Übungen für Vielsitzer [Exercises for those who sit too much]. #31, p. 65. See Sitting Variations Exercises #1 and #2. Exercise #3. Funke Women Group GMBH. Ismaning Germany.

Die aktuelle (2020). Bewegung bringt’s. Rücken schmerzen aktiv loswerden Movement delivers. Getting rid of back pain by being active]. #32, p. 66. See exercises #4, 5, and 6. Funke Women Group GMBH. Ismaning Germany.

Echo der Frau (2020). Die besten Yoga Übungen für Frauen [The best Yoga exercises for women]. #32, p. 54. Funke Women Group GMBH. Ismaning Germany.

Neue Post (2020). Willkommen in der Rückenschule. Wie wir Kreuzschmerzen vorbeugen und uns im Akutfall selbst helfen können [Welcome to the Back School. How we can prevent backaches and can help ourselves in acute situations]. #32, p. 60. See Exercises #7-11. Bauer Women KG. Hamburg, Germany.

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