If you’re trying to get in shape, you’ve probably heard a lot about strengthening your core. People often tend to focus on a part of their body they want to work on - arms, legs, abdomen, etc. - but don’t take core strength into consideration. But it should be a primary focus in your fitness routine, since core muscles serve such an important function. Core muscles, including back muscles, can improve your posture and make you less susceptible to injury while you’re doing any physical activity. Your back holds up your upper body and shoulders, and if it’s strong, it will feel natural and easy to hold them straight instead of slouching.
Your core muscles include the pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, and back muscles, and all physical activity usually involves them in some way. Even the force of gravity will engage your core muscles while you’re standing still, so if you often feel sluggish or like you need to sit down after standing for a while, it may be time to strengthen them. A strong back will help your posture by supporting your spine and upper back in an upright position, which will in turn help your neck maintain a straight position. The body’s muscles function in tandem, rather than separate from each other - so although posture involves several other muscles, your back muscles are key in creating good posture.
Strengthening your back can mean functional exercises like those found in CrossFit routines, but it can also be achieved through aerobic exercises such as rowing, or other sports like tennis. Yoga also incorporates a lot of movements that help improve core stability, and even something as simple as sitting on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair can make a small but noticeable impact. Back pain is often the result of injury, but injury can be exacerbated by weak muscles. If you do suffer a back injury, it can be difficult to return to your former levels of physical activity - so strengthening your back is important to your future mobility!
Posture tends to change with age because of the redistribution of fat, muscle loss, and loss of bone density. As we age, our muscles tend to turn to fat, and fat is redistributed through our midsection - if you sit at an office all day and then come home and watch TV in the evening, this process will be faster than if you keep your core strength up. Continual exercise won’t turn back the clock, but it can counteract this somewhat. If you keep your back and body strong, you’ll be able to maintain an elegant posture for a much longer than you would with a sedentary lifestyle. Your back is what keeps your head and shoulders where they need to be, in an upright position. Take care of it, and you’ll naturally have better posture throughout your life.