If things don’t change soon, zombie-ism won’t just be a pop culture phenomenon.
It will be a reality.
Consider this, given the increasing prominence of chronic lower back pain and poor posture in Americans, a nation full of hunched-over sauntering zombie s is not far off. Aside from a slight technological advantage and distinctly different dining preferences, the average Joe of today is halfway to living dead status.
See for yourself…
So how can an all-out zombie back apocalypse be avoided?
1. Don’t just sit there.
The problem with zombies is a constant crick in the back (assuming we ignore the other more obvious problems).
One way to avoid this achy zombie crick is to strengthen your trunk and abdominal muscles, thus increasing spine stability and reducing lower back stress (Carpenter). Spinal stabilizers are located in your torso between the top of your hips and your lower ribs. These exercises are a useful addition to any exercise regimen designed to ward off the zombie back apocalypse.
Surprisingly though, musculoskeletal health may depend less on strength and conditioning routines and more on what health experts refer to as “incidental exercise.”
Indeed, there are overwhelming health benefits to incidental movements like walking up stairs, moving while on the phone, walking briskly from meeting to meeting, etc. These benefits include better metabolism, stronger abdominal muscles, a reduction in lower back pain and better (less zombie-like) posture (Gerard). For hints on how to incorporate incidental exercise in a busy day, check out these Fit Facts from Ace Fitness.
2. Don’t just sit there stressing.
Once you start moving more regularly, you may experience a pleasant amount of destressing — which is good news, because mental and emotional stress can have a serious impact on the lower back. In fact, patients with poor coping skills are four times more likely to develop back problems (DiNubile).
3. Don’t just sit there stressing your muscles in the same way.
The last rule for warding off the zombie posture is to start improving muscular mobility and multi-directional functionality.
When muscles follow the same path of least resistance for years at a time, the body begins to compensate, worsening both gait and posture.
To improve multi-directional functionality, practice typical movements in reverse. For example, if you fall swiftly and comfortably in to bed, try halting the motion in progress and stand up. You may also try pausing your sitting motion halfway through and reverse the movement (Barrows).
You can further break the body’s patterns by incorporating a regular stretching routine. Frequent stretching allows the muscles to return to neutral position, improving posture and reducing back-pain (Alderman).
So there they are, three rules for avoiding a living dead take-over.
- Don’t just sit there.
- Don’t just sit there stressing.
- Don’t just sit there stressing your muscles in the same old way.
…So, go on! Get started, before it’s too late.