Do you need to fix your posture? If you slump over a computer or smartphone for any length of time, then it’s going to cause pains in your neck, back, and shoulders. Today, bad posture has become a significant concern.
When you’re constantly under stress, sleeping in awkward positions, or overweight, it can put unnecessary pressure on your muscles and joints. The longer you utilize the things that aggravate your posture, the harder the habit is to break. Sadly, you’re causing damage to areas of your body that won’t manifest until later.
Not only is slouching horrible for your self-esteem, but it’s terrible for your body. People who slouch often have poor abdominal muscle mass, making their belly puff out more than it should.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE PROBLEMS THAT CAN BE CAUSED BY CONSTANT SLOUCHING:
- Chronic headaches
- Stiffness in your neck, back, and shoulders
- Overwhelming fatigue from strain
- Back injuries
- Problems with knees, hips, and feet
- Muscle atrophy
- Breathing issues
- Compressed nerves or pinched disks
- Digestive complications
- Circulation problems
- Overall joint discomfort
- The curvature of the spine
TEN WAYS TO FIX YOUR POSTURE
Trying to fix your posture requires developing a new routine. If you find that you’re constantly complaining about your back and neck, then you know you must change the way you sit. When you first start to develop a healthier way to position your body, it’s not going to be easy.
Your body will fight the new posture, and you will experience some mild discomfort. The problem is that you’re activating muscles that you haven’t used in some time, and they’re weak. Thankfully, as you change the way you sit and develop a healthy routine, these muscles will become stronger.
Don’t give up prematurely as patience is the key. To start the changeover process, visualize yourself as tall. If you feel yourself slipping back into your old slouching habits, then you need to stand up and close your eyes.
Stand there nice and tall and feel your spine straightening. Now, standing tall isn’t going to resolve the problems, so here are ten exercises that will fix your posture and help you overall.
1. PECTORAL BALL SMASH
The pectoral ball smash will loosen all your tight muscles in the chest. You can also use a trigger point release maneuver to accompany this stretch.
•Put the ball in front of you and lean against the wall.
•Move around until you find a spot that is a bit uncomfortable to touch. This indicates sore muscles that need work. Now, move the ball around this area for about 30 seconds. You’ve found a trigger point that is going to help release the tension in the area.
•Keep rolling the ball around, finding more sore trigger points. Do it until you feel you’ve got all the painful areas covered.
2. BACK EXTENSION
This maneuver will help you strengthen your back muscles, but it will also prevent injuries to your spinal area. If you want to fix your posture and prevent round back, then you should try this one. Office workers and others that do a lot of sitting should do this stretch regularly.
•Start by lying on the mat with your stomach on the floor.
•Place your arms down to your side and touch your palms to your thigh.
•Put your legs close together and straighten your elbows. When you pull, you want to draw your toes a bit.
•Now, exhale as you lift your head, abdomen, and chest off the floor. The feet and hands never leave the original position if done correctly.
•Next, inhale as you lower your body down to the start position.
•Try to do ten reps.
3. CAT/COW POSE
This stretch improves elasticity in the spine, and it’s highly suggested for those who suffer from chronic back pain. It helps to get movement in the upper back, which is where most of the slouching effects.
•Begin in a downward dog position by kneeling on all fours. Now, put your wrists beneath your shoulder area. If done correctly, your knees should be directly beneath the hips.
•Now, breathe in, and look forward. As you inhale, make sure that you’re engaging your core muscles.
•Breathe out and put your chin down into the chest area as you slowly lower your head. Pull your belly area in the direction of your spinal column. If done correctly, your vertebrae will take on a round appearance toward the ceiling.
•Now, return to the starting position.
•Breathe in and look ahead as you pull your belly towards the matt. Elevate your tailbone in the direction of the ceiling, pulling your breastbone forward and upwards.
•Revert to the downward dog position, and you can repeat this stretch as many times as is comfortable for you.
4. THORACIC EXTENSION
If you want to fix your posture, then the thoracic extension is necessary. It can also help to alleviate pain in the back, neck, and hips. You’ll need a foam roller to do this stretch.
•Place the roller on a mat horizontally. No, you want to keep the roller vertical as you lay your shoulders down on it.
•Use your gluteal muscles to push your backside off the floor. Your heels will assist you in moving back and forth.
•The goal is to find a position where it’s uncomfortable; once you find that spot, keep making the rolling motion for 20-30 seconds.
5. WALL ANGELS
The wall angels stretch helps to strengthen the thoracic spinal area, helping to thwart developing a hunchback.
•Begin by standing against the wall with your knees bent slightly. Now, you want to make sure that your back, from top to bottom, and your head are resting on the wall.
•Now, make sure the back of your arms is against the wall. You will feel some pulling as you strain to make them touch. The backs of your fingers should also be touching the wall.
•Next, remember how you made snow angels as a kid? Well, you want to move your arms till they are over your head and then back down to the starting position. The trick is that you need to keep everything against the wall but your arms. If your back or head loses contact with the wall, then you’re not doing the stretch correctly.
•Try to do this for ten reps.
6. THE PLANK
The plank stretch will help to fix your posture by giving you a strong core. The weak abdominal muscles get a good workout, as well as the shoulder and back area.
•Position your body like you were going to do push-ups. Slightly bend your elbows so that your weight rests on your forearms and not your hands. If you do this correctly, you will have your body straight from the ankles up to the shoulders.
•Now, you want to really work those core muscles. So, suck in your belly as hard as you can. Imagine that you are moving your belly button from the front of your body to the back.
•Try to hold this stretch for up to a minute. If you can do it longer, then go as long as you can.
7. DOORWAY STRETCH
This stretch is ideal for neutralizing a sunken chest from a long period of slouching.
•Find a sturdy doorframe and stand inside it. Place your right forearm against the frame as you bend it slightly until you reach a 90-degree angle.
•Your elbow should be about the same height as your shoulder. If you find this difficult, then grab the side of the doorframe with your hand.
•Now, turn your chest to the right as you feel it stretching and pulling in your shoulder area.
•Hold this position for 60 seconds, then switch sides and do the other arm.
8. BOW POSE
The bow pose stretch can assist in fixing lousy posture. It helps to stretch the muscles that are often pinched in front of the shoulder area. Over time, it will lengthen and strengthen them.
•Start by lying face down on your stomach. Now, bend your knees slightly as you bring them up towards your hips. If you can’t get them up that far, it’s okay. Just do the best you can.
•Take your hands and grasp your feet. Now, slowly lift your head and chest till it’s slightly off the mat.
•Take a deep breath in and kick your legs outwards so that your arms will follow suit. Now, roll forward until you’re on your belly.
•Exhale and return to the original starting position.
•You should repeat this stretch up to five times.
9. SHOULDER DISLOCATIONS
To do the dislocated shoulder stretch, you will need to use a broom handle or a long rod of any type. Anything will work as long as it keeps the shoulders a reasonable distance apart.
•Start by standing (or lying on your back to modify) and taking the broom handle in your hands. Keep your palms facing downward as you grasp the stick. Keep your hands at a distance that is just a bit wider than your shoulders.
• Now, make sure you keep your elbow straight as you raise your arms slowly until they’re over your head. If done right, you will feel a pulling in your chest area and your upper back.
•Try to hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat five times.
10. COBRA STRETCH
The cobra stretch is designed to help improve your breathing. When you have poor posture, your slouching causes your lungs to compress. This will help to strengthen the muscles you use to fill the lungs. The muscles worked in this maneuver will help to keep the spinal column nice and straight.
•Start by getting on the floor on your belly. You want to make sure your palms are facing downward right beneath the shoulders.
•Next, inhale and slowly lift your chest from the mat as your arms become straight. If you’re doing this correctly, you will feel those abdominal muscles start to engage.
•Only the top part of your ribs should come up off the floor. The lower section should remain there. Now, push your shoulders back while keeping your heart in the forward position. It would help if you didn’t crunch your neck when you’re doing this maneuver, as it can cause unnecessary strain.
•If you’re doing this stretch right, your body should resemble a cobra ready to strike. Now, hold this position for about 30 seconds. Next, release your breath as you slowly lower your torso back onto the mat.
Keep in mind that as you do these stretches, the motto “no pain, no gain” certainly applies. As you use muscles that have become weak, there is going to be a bit of discomfort. Thankfully, you can fix your posture and stop the chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain with some hard work.