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I'm always hearing about proper form for exercise. What does that really mean and why is it important?
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Proper form is really important when you're starting an exercise program. Proper form refers to keeping your joints and your spine lined up correctly. And it varies from exercise to exercise. But the spine naturally has curves to it and when you stand upright you have these natural curves. When you're doing an exercise, when you're seated, when you're bent over you want to keep these curves you don't want especially your lower back to round, your neck can round also and this doesn't mean you want to overarch your lower back because that puts additional pressures also but you want to keep it in what's called a neutral spine. In a neutral spine your pelvis, which is shaped like a bucket, wouldn't spill forward our backwards. So that's a neutral pelvis -- your back has its normal natural curves -- sometimes we lose track of this. And we can't feel if our back is out of alignment but a good thing to do is if you put your hands on your hips and if you rock your pelvis forward all the way then rock your pelvis backwards all the way and then you want to come back and find a neutral position halfway between the two. It's important that your back is in the proper position and all your joints because the forces are going to be much greater when you're loading up the body than when you're standing regularly so that's what we mean by having good form and basically keeping everything lined up correctly. So if you round your lower back while you're exercising you're at more risk of herniating a disk the disk will have more pressure going towards your back the more its rounded and it can't disperse the weight evenly.
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