Posture Alignment on Aerobic Machines
When exercising on an aerobic machine (elliptical, treadmill, bike, stair stepper, etc.) our intent is to condition our cardiovascular system. We are concerned with our heart rate, breathing and fatigue. It is all about our heart and lungs. Seldom do we consider the biomechanics needed to reach our workout intensity. Consequently, people are hunching over the machines, leaning forward and getting hurt.
Six posture related injuries from aerobic machines:
1. Ligaments are permanently stretched
Common in the pelvic area when vertical alignment from the ear to the ankle is not maintained. Seen when using the elliptical or stair stepper with the feet too far back and the pelvis tucks under.
2. Cartilage damage due to abnormal friction
Knees are a prime target, when the hip and ankle are misaligned the soft tissues within the knee joint are worn down with every movement repetition.
3. Disc injuries from vertebrae misalignment
Rounding of the shoulders and upper back put additional stress on the spine causing discs to bulge or herniate in the neck and low back.
4. Nerve damage including worsening impingement and imbalances causing headaches, numbness and tingling
Often experienced in the neck due to overstretching of the muscles from a head forward position.
5. Arthritis development or progression in weight bearing joint
There is a kinetic chain of movement from the vertebrae of the spine to the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Each affects the other and imbalances in joint position will create wear and stress in the body leading to cumulative trauma and pain.
6. Muscle imbalances
Opposing muscle structures develop unevenly, some become short and weak while others become elongated and weak. Leaning forward while walking impairs gluteal muscle function, creating uneven development in the lower body. An aligned posture increases muscle activation and establishes balance between the upper and lower body.
Postural tips for aerobic machines:
Jessica Kisiel is local wellness professional specializing in injury recovery and pain management through posture alignment using the Egoscue Method®. Stay connected and receive free posture exercises for your favorite sport by signing up for her newsletter, http://www.thepfathlete.com/subscribe.