The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Free Exercise and Free Back and Knee Pain Prevention - Healthy Bending

If you think that not having time to exercise is the problem, here is good news. Thinking that your life and your health are two separate things is the problem. You don't have to stop your life to get exercise.

The last post explained that you bend many times every day as part of normal life (How Good Would You Look From 400 Squats a Day - Just Stop Unhealthy Bending). This post shows one way to do healthy bending when you are bending with feet side by side - the squat bend.

Look at the drawings, above left. The left-hand drawing shows bad bending - letting weight rock forward, heels lifting, and overly arching the lower back. The right-hand drawing shows healthy bending - keeping weight back, heels down, and the lower back in healthy position, not rounded and not overly arched. Look at the right-hand drawing and try it:

  • Keep your upper body as upright as you can, instead of rounding over forward
  • Keep both heels down as you bend your knees (right drawing).
  • If you find you lift your heels, use your leg muscles to deliberately pull your knees back so that your weight shifts back over your heels. Shifting your weight back keeps your weight on your leg muscles and off your knee joints. There should be no knee pain with good bending.
  • Keep your knees back toward your ankles. If you just let your weight flop, the knees will come forward past your toes. Don't allow your knees to shift forward.
  • Don't overarch the lower spine (overly sticking your behind out in back). Keep neutral spine. If you overarch, tuck your hip (tailbone) under you just enough to prevent having a too large arch (inward curve) in your lower back. Although it is often taught in exercise and weight lifting classes to stick far out and overarch, increasing the arch increases pressure on the joints of your vertebrae, called facet joints, and the soft tissue of your lower back. Overarching is a major hidden cause of lower back pain and injury.

Use good bending every time you bend - even to look in the refrigerator and get in and out of your chair. Don't use your arms to lean on the arm rests to sit down and get up; use leg muscles. If you need to use your arms, or you lean your body forward to sit or rise, you need to improve balance, Achilles tendon stretch, and leg strength. Bending properly does all that for you. (Practice safely. Don't fall down.)

Have a friend (or a camera set on timer) take photos of you from the side as you stand and bend, showing how you fixed your bending from unhealthy to healthy during whatever you do all day for work and at home. Write a fun summary and e-mail your photos and stories to me. If you can, put the photos on a photo sharing site. That is easier for me to retrieve and post on Fitness Fixer. I can put the best photos and most fun stories up in lights.

Realize that a big part of your health is the way you move in real life. Make a conscious decision to change your idea of exercise, fitness, and health from stopping life to "do exercise" to how you live. Have fun - the best health.



Read and contribute your own success stories of these methods. Before asking questions, see if your answers are already here - click labels under posts, links in posts, archives at right, and the Fitness Fixer Index. Subscribe to The Fitness Fixer, free. Click "updates via e-mail" (under trumpet) upper right. 
For answers to personal medical questions - Replies to Medical Questions. Limited Class spaces for personal evaluation. Top students may apply to certify through See Dr. Bookspan's Books.

Drawing of Backman!™ © copyright Dr. Bookspan

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.