If you’re anything like me, you rolled your eyes every time your mama told you to sit up straight or to stop slouching.
We didn’t really understand what the big deal was then, and I still wonder how many people never did realize just how important their posture was or is.
Good posture is vital to a happier, healthier, and pain-free life. Since good posture is lacking so much today, I thought that I would address this important little issue in today’s article.
Want to know why your posture is so important? Do you know why you should care if you’re slouching over your phone, tablet, or computer keyboard right now?
Are you wondering if using a rowing machine could help improve your poor posture?
Let’s take a few minutes out of our busy day to talk about why we should work on improving posture and the easiest way(s) to do that.
Learn How To Stop Back Pain With Our Rowing Expert Max Secunda:
Why Does Good Posture Matter?
Glad you asked!
Good posture is important to your overall health, and it offers a variety of benefits, such as greatly reduced levels of back pain, increased energy, and better digestion.
When you have good posture, it not only makes you appear taller and more confident, but it can also help you avoid muscle tension, low back pain, neck pain, headaches, fatigue, and many other common health issues.
When we slouch, the muscles supporting our spine, core muscles, and neck become weaker. This can lead to misalignments in the neck and back, not only causing pain but also causing excess wear on the joints and vertebra in the back.
Unfortunately, most of us have jobs that require sitting in front of a computer most of the day, but we don’t have to compound this by slouching over our cell phones at home, tablets, or watching TV for hours at night.
Let’s talk about how we can improve our posture while strengthening both the upper body and lower body at the same time.
Will a Rowing Machine Improve Posture?
It sure can!
One of the problems that most people experience is that when we do try to sit up or stand up straight, our muscles are so weak that we can’t hold the proper posture for more than a few minutes.
What is proper posture?
Sit or stand and imagine a straight line running from the top of your head, down your neck, right down your spine, and all the way to your hips. Keep that line in mind as you stand in front of a mirror.
It’s nearly impossible to hold on to this posture for more than a few minutes unless you strengthen key points in the body, including the neck, upper back (including the shoulder blades), the core muscles, and the glutes.
You know what I’m going to say next, right?
Rowing machines work all those muscles and more!
Regular rowing machine workouts work 86 percent of the muscles in the body, stimulate muscle growth, and improve the mechanics of the neck and spine.
Watch Expert Rowing Coach Max Secunda Teaching What Muscles Rowing Works:
When you use the proper technique for rowing, you will improve strength in all these areas and then some with every workout.
The best news? This is a low-impact exercise, so even if you have bad knees or other health problems, chances are that you can start rowing without any limitations.
What Other Exercises Are Good for Bad Posture?
There are many other types of exercises that you can do to help improve your posture.
Many of these can be done while sitting in front of the television or even at your desk.
A few of the exercises that can put you on the road to great posture include:
- Child’s Pose. This is a yoga movement that feels so good, you might do it even when your posture is perfect. This pose is more of a relaxing one that stretches and lengthens the spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The pose will also help release tension in your lower back and neck.
- Touch Your Toes. Be careful doing this one if you have a herniated disk. Stand up and cross your legs. Very slowly, bend at the waist and try to touch your toes. Grab your ankles if you must. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs. This instantly releases the pressure on your lower back. I do this stretch several times a day simply because it feels so good!
- Chest Opener. When you type all day long, the muscles in the chest become tighter. This can actually cause pain in the upper and/or mid-back muscles. Find a corner and stand about 10 inches away from it. Put one forearm on each wall about shoulder height. Now gently lean into the corner, as if you were trying to touch the corner with your nose. You should feel the stretch across your chest. Don’t push too hard! Hold for a count of 20 seconds. Do this stretch as often as you like.
- Spine and Arm Rotation. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Put your arms straight in front of you, palms together. Now lift the top arm straight up towards the ceiling and hold it for a few seconds, then try to move your arm and touch the floor behind you. Keep your hips and the other arm on the floor, but feel free to move your head. Focus on twisting the torso. Repeat 4 times, then switch sides.
I have found that stretching not only feels great, but it also helps all the key points in my body stay aligned and flexible.
If you need to sit in the same position day after day, try to get up off the chair and do one or two stretches every 30 minutes.
Trust me, this will make a world of difference not only to your posture but also your stress levels!
Can Rowing Help with Rounded Shoulders?
Yes, it can!
Of course, you need to row using the proper technique in order to get the best results, but rowing can help improve posture, rounded shoulders, and that forward-facing neck.
If you have rounded shoulders due to sitting and typing, you aren’t alone. However, chances are that you will also row with those rounded shoulders.
If you love rowing like I do, focus on your posture for a few minutes every time you exercise. Think about opening up your chest (try the stretch mentioned above) and keeping your shoulders down.
It might feel strange at first, it might even make you tired, but over time, your core muscles and lower body will become stronger and good posture will come naturally.
Do I Need to Lose Weight to Have Better Posture?
This is a yes-and-no type of question.
Technically, NO, you do not need to lose weight to have better posture.
However, you will find that weight loss will make good posture easier to maintain.
A common problem is that many people hold extra weight in their bellies. This weight naturally pulls on your spine, causing you to have an unnatural spinal position.
If you have really strong core muscles, you can compensate for that extra weight, or if you hold your weight in your legs, hips, or glutes, it can be easier to maintain proper posture.
For most people, however, losing a bit of weight will make keeping a proper position while rowing, walking, or standing so much easier.
The Bottom Line
Good posture is important for your overall health, and it can keep your body free from joint pain as you age.
Rowing and stretching exercises are some of the best ways to help improve posture.
Remember that you must row with the proper technique in order to reap the benefits of rowing.
When it comes to posture, it might seem as if the improvement is slow, but with consistency, you will see better posture and a stronger body within a few weeks.
Stay happy and healthy, friends. Keep rocking and rowing!
Written by Petra Amara – RowingCrazy.com
CEO & Founder of RowingCrazy, National Rower, Coxswain Womens Eight Team, Rowing Coach & Writer
Petra is a Mother of two and owner of Rowingcrazy.com. Petra lives and breathes rowing, she also has a passion for writing which lead her to start RowingCrazy.com to share her rowing experience and expertise with others.