3 Simple Stretches To Prepare your Body For Better Posture
Whether you are commuting, working at your desk or lounging at home, your day is full of time spent sitting and that can greatly impact your posture. According to the American Chiropractic Association, at least 80% of adults will suffer from back or neck pain in their lifetime. So, let’s take a look at a few stretches that can help you alleviate those aches and pains and improve your posture.
As you sit for long periods of time, the chest muscles begin to shorten causing your shoulders to roll inward and your upper back to hunch uncomfortably. This stretch is meant to loosen and lengthen back out those chest muscles.
Standing in a doorway, begin by forming an “L” shape with your right arm. To do this, simply lift your right arm so that it is parallel to the ground and gently bend it at the elbow so that your fingertips are now facing toward the ceiling. Now place your palm on the door jam. Once your hand is securely on the door jam, slowly start to walk your body forward into a slight lunge position with your legs. Allow your chest to go just past the door jam as you lean into your raised arm. Apply moderate pressure into the hand against the door jam for about 10-20 seconds. Repeat this stretch 3-5 times on each arm.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Just like the chest muscles shorten as you sit, so do the hip flexors. These muscles can often be felt in the front of your pelvic floor and sometimes in the lower abdomen and upper quadricep (front of the leg). When shortened, these muscles can cause the lower back to lock up, a lack of range of motion in the hip and an overall stiff feeling in the low back and hips.
Kneeling with your right foot on the floor in front of you and leg bent at a 90, slowly work your left leg straight back bend you with a slight bend in the knee and toes top down on the ground beneath you. Place your hands on the top of your right leg, and gently press your hips forward until you feel a good stretch. Make sure to try to keep your hips square with a slightly tilted back while keeping your upper body straight with your gaze straight ahead. Hold for 30-60 seconds and switch sides. Repeat 3-5x a day.
Neck Roll Stretch
One of the major symptoms of sitting all day is the “text neck.” This pain is caused by craning over and looking down at your cellular device, laptop or computer for too long. Because each person is different, you may experience more pain in the sides of your neck, front and/or back.This stretch is meant to slowly get mobility back into the neck and find your individual areas of stiffness which will allow you to target and stretch those muscles more fluidly.
Standing upright with arms relaxed by your side, gently take your right ear down to your right shoulder allowing your head to relax toward the shoulder and a slight stretch on the left side neck. Make sure the shoulders remain parallel to the ground. Slowly begin to roll your head forward and counterclockwise allowing your chin to tuck in toward the chest and back of the neck to feel a nice stretch. Continue your roll leftward and up toward the left shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch in the right side neck. Now continue to slowly roll counter clockwise as you allow the top of your head to sink back and down, and your chin to shine up toward the ceiling. You should feel a good stretch in the front of your neck. Continue your roll until you have completed a full circle back to your right side. Repeat these rolls 5-10 times on each side.
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey