15 minutes to improved posture
Do you hunch your shoulders? Do you slump at your desk? do you have 'text neck' (i bet you can guess what that means)
If so you you might need to improve your posture. a good posture is one where the muscles are not overworking to keep your body in alignment, if you are sitting or standing in a way which loads / puts too much stress on certain muscles (and very little on others) you could end up with muscle imbalances which can lead to back pain.
There are many muscles involved in a healthy sitting and standing posture, improving flexibility and strength in them can reduce aches and pains and improve posture.
Your head is very heavy and the strain put on your neck when you hang it foward to text or browse your phone for long periods. This can cause headaches and tightness in your shoulders.
In just 15 minutes you can target these key muscles; try these to release tension, and give yourself an instantly taller, slimmer-looking physique.
Minute 1: Shoulder rolls:
get into a comfortable position. As you inhale, raise your shoulders and shoulder blades to your ears. On the exhale, pull your shoulder blades down and together. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
this will loosen up the muscles of the upper back which can get tight when holding a poor posture for extended periods
Minute 2: Chest Release:
Raise your arms to just below shoulder height with palms facing forward. Exhale as you slowly rotate both hands at the wrists so your fingers point slightly behind you. Take three to five breaths. feel free to do this over a yoga ball to enhance the stretch.
a chest stretch can be useful as the chest muscles can tighten when at a desk, this can encourage your back to round and hunch forward. this strech reduce this
Minute 3: Neck stretch
slowly tilt your head so that your ear leans towards your shoulder. keep your shoulders relaxed and breathe out slowly as you feel the muscles through the side of your neck relax. repeat on the other side. Next try looking to each side; keep your shoulders back and sit upright and turn your head as far as you are comfortable towards your shoulder. remember to do stetches slowly and with relaxed breathing.
Minute 4: side bend
with an upright posture, Put your right hand on the side of your right thigh. put your other hand up by your left temple. now slowly slide your right hand down towards your knee by folding at the waist, you will feel a stretch through your back, on your left side. slowly return back to upright position and repeat for the left.
Minute 5: front plank
with your elbows and toes in contact with the floor, lift your pelvis off the ground and contract your abdominal muscles to hold a bridge like position. dont dip the pelvis down too low or the muscles wont contract effectively. hold this of 30 -60 seconds to strengthen the abdominals and legs.
Minute 6: shoulder retractions
doing a rowing type exercise either with a cable, a resistance band or dumbells will help train the upper back muscles which are often over stretched to improve their tone and strength to conteract tight chest muscles.
With an upright posture hold onto the resistance band on each side with arms extended infront of you. ensure the band has tension on it. bring the elbows back and towards your sides, squeeze your shoulderblades together at the same time. pause and then return your arms to the start. 2 sets of 12-15 slow reps.
repeat these exercises in a circuit in the gym or at home. don't forget gentle aerobic exercise can loosen muscles to release tension and our Pilates and Yoga classes are great for improving flexibility and core stability.
good posture is also about awareness, exercises can aliviate the damage done, and even help prevent back pain, but being aware of your posture and the positions you hold for sustained periods and correcting them will reap the most benefits.
Toning, stretching, repitition and awareness
come and chat to myself or a colleague for further advice as we can give you more specific exercises to address your personal requirements...
Good standing posture:
The NHS describes a good standing posture as follows:
To help you maintain a correct standing posture, imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards. The idea is to keep your body in perfect alignment, maintaining the spine's natural curvature, neck straight
and shoulders parallel with the hips.
Keep your shoulders back and relaxed
Pull in your abdomen
Keep your feet about hip distance apart
Balance your weight evenly on both feet
Try not to tilt your head forward, backward or sideways
Keep your legs straight but knees relaxed