The Mystery Revealed

I have posted a couple of times about posture. Mainly, because I had bad posture. BUT then I realized. How can you tell if you also have bad posture? And the answer is, unless you know what you are looking at, or you experience pain, discomfort you may not actually know what it is.

So I am going to try and make some effort to clear that up today.

Your posture is caused by a series of imbalances and weaknesses. Which are caused by a weak and loose upper back and posterior delts compared to tight(er) pecs and front deltoids. Especially seeing how the pec minor (upper pec) attaches all the way back to the scapula so it being tight can cause the "slouching" posture.

The main cause of this imbalance is once again due to sitting too much. This is referred to as lumbar lordosis, due to weak abdominal muscles and hamstrings/glutes, and tight quads and hip flexors. Regarding the lordosis, people have suggested stretching your hip flexors and quads, and doing abs and hamstring/glute work: Bulgarian Split Squats are great, romanian deadlifts, or barbell/dumbbell hip thrusts, or hip "bridges").

These imbalances are very frequent since many people tend to gloss over pulling exercises in favour of more "trendy" pushing, like bench press and shoulder presses, but having a sedentary lifestyle doesn't help as well.

So, you wanna work on your scapular retraction for the kyphosis and on strengthening your core for the lordosis.

Some exercises that work on this are barbell and cable rows, reverse flies, and facepulls. Facepulls were a huge help when I was correcting my posture. But don't run out just yet, with facepulls it is important to remember to do low weight high reps on this, focusing on form, the muscles they target are really small so they cant sustain as much overload as other bigger muscles.

High rep, good form, low weight.

They helped resolve all the knots I'd get in my upper back. Great, underutilized exercise! And while this worked for me, don't worry if you don't get the same results. Everybody has different bad posture. And getting the right exercise will offer dramatic improvements to your posture. Once you've fixed these issues is when the real work really begins.

Posture is mainly a matter of habit once you have taken care of any underlying issues. The reason being that once you get into a specific habit, for example due to a weak back, you will find it hard to get out of it even if you have fixed the underlying issues, i.e. a stronger back, etc.

You need to be very conscious, at least initially, of your posture.

What I did was check my posture every couple of minutes or so and then if I found I was out of alignment, correct it.

Check it in every position you habitually move in:

  • is your posture good while taking a stroll?
  • While working on your computer?
  • When you're carrying grocery bags on only one arm?

It may take a couple of years, but in the end it is worth it, and it will leave you with a better quality of life.


You Can’t Force It

Posture, it is the bane of the computer bound employee. And no matter where you work you will see the slackers slouching or resting at comfy angles instead of focusing on improving their posture. And why blame them? This is actually hard to do. And unless you work toward it, the "ideal" posture cannot be forced for very long.

Especially for someone with significant muscular imbalance, stretch and strengthen are the major players here, so never discount that aspect as well.

The "ideal" posture is butt all the way to the back of the chair. If you draw a straight line down the side of the body, your ear, shoulder joint and hip joint should be relatively vertical to each other.

The further forward you are, the more strain you place on your neck, your back, and other joints. Whereas the majority of your joints should be in neutral positions, which are positions that allow the straight flow of blood. If you can't, then go for a 90 degree angle. That is your arm is allowed to flow down from the should, bend, make a 90° bend and rest without stress on your mouse. If you're on a laptop, you'll notice that these rules are actually impossible. So you'll either have to use an external monitor or an external keyboard.

And yes, ideally take breaks as often as feasible. I was told that you should move around and stretch every half hour to forty-five minutes. But when you are busy, in the middle of something, or concentrated, I tend to forget. Still I often shift my position and generally try to keep an upright but soft posture.

It's good to allow yourself some room to sit in a comfortable way without getting too attached to one way, where you may develop a bad habit.


My Dilemma: Jogging vs. Cycling

I think that it could be boiled down to three questions that I am currently trying to answer. And while I like both, doing both, seems senseless. I mean, what do I do, jog one and then day cycle the next?

It is a duplication of equipment that I would need for something that I could achieve with just one. And cycling is more of an upfront cost.

My Question

  1. Which one burns more fat in less time?
    • This is the big one for me. I have less time, and that means it needs to count. The question is, while I can go further faster while biking, will it be less beneficial to me as a whole? I tend to think that it will be less beneficial.
  2. Which one is harder on my body
    • In the past this has always been jogging, but, in recent years, whenever I get on a bike I end up with knee pain.
  3. How much distance and or time do I need to invest in a good workout?
    • This really seems to be a question that nobody has an answer for. And honestly, it shouldn't be too hard to calculate.
    • In the past I have lost more fat and weight tracking my calories than by actually working out.

I have often read that a "good workout" only depends on your fitness level and intensity.

My Answer

I feel that with the goal of burning fat, either exercise will work, granted I approach it the right way. There is a target heart rate zone, that is to say, one that will burn more fat. Taking that as a starting value I think that it is safe to say that I could reach my target heart rate with either cardio exercise.

Since I have let myself get a little bit out of shape. And since jogging seems like it will rip hurt more than the other, for me a fat burning exercise, it would probably be easier to maintain that on a bike.

I know that it may seem silly, but the way that I see it is that if you're putting in the time and effort you may as well get every bit of benefit you can out of your exercise.