When did our posture become ‘so under threat?’ Most people don’t consider their posture, however, you just have to look at all the fallout as people who lean over and down over their devices, mobile phones, etc., at the way their bodies bend and twist with muscles following the direction of the consistent positioning. Their shoulders are rounding, their postures are suffering and the end result is stooping and very poor alignment, and frankly, it just doesn’t look good.
While my father stays with us at Sunshine Ridge, we exercise every morning, and those exercises are mainly all about posture and positioning of the body more appropriately for greater core strength and ease of movement. Just doing the basics, like bending down to pick something up, and twisting the torso to place something back into position. We take our range of movement for granted until we sustain an injury.
Most of us get back pain at some point in our lives. It may be due to a sports-related injury, an accident, or a congenital condition such as scoliosis. But most of the time, upper or lower back pain develops during the course of day-to-day life. Repetitive activities at work or home, such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying, may produce tension and muscle tightness that result in a backache. One solution to preventing back pain is to improve posture.
In addition to improving your posture, general physical fitness, and a healthy weight are important of course. The simple act of paying attention to improving your posture can go a long way.
3 Steps to Improving Posture:
- Shoulder blade squeeze. Sit up straight in a chair with your hands resting on your thighs. Keep your shoulders down and your chin level. Slowly draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of five; relax. Repeat three or four times. The secret is to imagine you are gripping something in your shoulder blades.
- Upper-body stretch. Stand facing a corner with your arms raised, hands flat against the walls, elbows at shoulder height. Place one foot ahead of the other. Bending your forward knee, exhale as you lean your body toward the corner. Keep your back straight and your chest and head up. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Relax. Shine the light!
- Arm-across-chest stretch. Raise your right arm to shoulder level in front of you and bend the arm at the elbow, keeping the forearm parallel to the floor. Grasp the right elbow with your left hand and gently pull it across your chest so that you feel a stretch in the upper arm and shoulder on the right side. Hold for 20 seconds; relax both arms. Be sure to keep breathing. Repeat to the other side. Repeat three times on each side.
Practice these exercises throughout the day. You might try to find a good trigger to help you remember, such as doing one or more of them when you get up from your desk, or right before scheduled breaks and lunch. Soon it will become a habit. We like to carry this out while waiting for the kettle to boil, or as part of our early morning movement sessions. The habit will save you $$$$$ In future pain-killing medication because you will have mastered your posture. Then the sweetest words you will ever hear will be from someone commenting on your posture and how good it is.
Be conscious of your posture, until its no longer an issue.