Whether you carry a few extra pounds around your midsection or are physically fit, a protruding abdomen might haunt your beach body. The fact is poor posture – not excess weight – is often responsible for a protruding abdomen. If you have poor posture and a protruding abdomen, a diet might not be the answer.
The spine runs from the head's base (cervical spine) to the tailbone (coccyx). In a way, each vertebra is connected to all of the others. As a result of this postural chain, incorrect posture in one part of the spine forces the rest out of proper alignment.
Three specific posture problems have infiltrated our offices.
1. Forward Head Posture (FHP) - Also referred to as tech or text neck, FHP is characterized by a head which protrudes beyond the shoulders.
2. Rounded Shoulders - Although these often accompany FHP, they can also occur independently. When shoulders are rounded, the chest appears concave, the upper and middle back hunch and shoulder blades are set apart (not cinched together).
3. Anterior Pelvic Tilt - Like the first two, this posture problem is common with individuals who spend extended time seated. Anterior pelvic tilt, however, is not as easy to spot. With proper posture, the pelvis rests at a comfortable angle which draws in the buttocks and the stomach, while allowing lower back muscles to relax. When the pelvis has an anterior tilt, the buttocks and stomach both protrude, and lower back muscles tighten, creating a deep curve in the lower (lumbar) spine.
Anterior pelvic tilt, rounded shoulders and forward head posture do more than contribute to your protruding abdomen; these issues also lead to conditions such as:
- back, jaw and joint pain
- chronic headaches and migraines
- varicose veins
- hindered circulation
If your job requires you to be seated, then you probably face these posture problems each day. Thankfully, you can fix poor posture.
Tips to Strengthen Your Core While Sitting or Standing
Core strengthening exercises and stretches to loosen key muscles will improve your posture. Stretches should target your hip flexors, groin and lower back muscles, and exercises should strengthen abdominal muscles, glutes and hamstrings.
Classic moves like bridges, crunches, squats, pelvic tilts and leg lifts will target the right muscle groups, but are probably not appropriate for the workplace. There are, however, some moves you can try while at your desk.