Are you compensating for intense boot camp training with slumping, slouching, and other poor posture habits at home and at work? When you leave the training course, your body awareness and attention to your body mechanics shouldn’t remain behind.
Even with an hour or two of routine exercise every day, poor posture habits can lead to serious health consequences including:
- Muscle strain and inflammation;
- Back, neck, and hip pain;
- Spinal compression;
- Decreased lung capacity; and
- Slowed intestinal motility.
If you need another reason to give boot camps and military fitness a try, check out these four posture-proven benefits:
1. Strengthens Your Core
Did you know that your back actually derives much of its strength from the core muscles around your abdomen? Boosting core strength, through motor control stability exercises, is an essential component of boot camp workouts, whether you are holding planks or doing spider steps or press-ups. Abdominal muscles, as well as your obliques, latissimus dorsi, and other key core muscles, provide a foundation of support for your back muscles which facilitates stronger, straighter posture.
2. Engages More Muscle Groups
Often times, poor posture can result from muscle imbalances, i.e. if your arms are extra strong but your upper back is weak, your shoulders can end up rounding forward. Boot camp workouts are one of the few exercise activities that aim to comprehensively engage as many muscle groups as possible, whether it is through basic bodyweight exercises, posturing, running, you name it. Functional fitness like boot camp workouts promote a balance between upper and lower body, front and back, which aids good posture.
3. Counteracts Sitting
A key culprit of bad posture is simply the tendency to sit frequently and for extended periods of time. A desk job followed by dinner followed by streaming TV on the couch for a couple of hours literally takes you from one sitting position to the next. This body position places constant pressure on the spine, compressing the vertebrae and stressing the adjacent muscles and tendons. Boot camp training is all about ripping you out of your sitting reality and getting you moving.
4. Promotes a Healthy Weight
Carrying around excess weight, especially around your midsection, can shift your centre of gravity ever so slightly that it actually places an extra pull on your back muscles and precludes you to worse posture. A boot camp workout could be your ticket to dropping the extra kilos and adjusting your posture so you sit and walk with an elongated and straight spine. Some studies show that boot camp workouts can burn up to 10 calories a minute which could be good news for your waistline and your posture.
Additional Tips for Improving Posture
There are many other ways you can practice better posture in addition to boot camp workouts:
- Orthotic aids: Keeping fit while wearing a back brace is easier than you might think. Many posture-correcting back braces can be worn during normal physical activity and exercise. Typically a posture brace is lightweight, breathable, and goes around the chest and shoulders without restricting your motion.
- Posture apps: Some smartphone and computer applications focus specifically on helping you maintain a better posture either by sitting in your pocket and alerting you when you slouch or by staying open on your computer and pinging you when your eye level falls below a certain point. Look in your device’s app store for posture apps you can download.
- Stretch: Tense, tight muscles are more likely to pull your body inward into hunched and rounded positions. Dynamic stretching prior to your boot camp workout and static stretching afterwards can help improve your flexibility, lengthen muscles, and make them more pliable. Combining boot camp workouts with weekly yoga routines may also help boost your muscles’ stretch capacity.