Do you finish work only to stand up and feel tightness in your neck and back? Do you find yourself with kinks and knots in your shoulders? Do people ask you if you’re feeling down or upset? Believe it or not, bad posture can be the root cause of all of these things. Here’s how to correct posture for better health, self-esteem, and even look more attractive.
4 Tips on How to Correct Your Posture
Having poor posture can affect your entire body and even your mental well-being. At LifeScape Premier, we practice a functional, holistic approach to healing the body and that means looking at your entire lifestyle, health, and more. It’s about getting to the root of the problem - and posture is a perfect example of how one action can cause lots of other issues.
If you find that you’re experiencing neck pain or other tightness after working at a desk all day, or absolutely want to AVOID ending up permanently bent over, posture is likely the culprit. Instead of taking pain medication, try these 4 steps for fixing your posture. You might find that your aches and pains start to go away!
1. Fix that rounded thoracic spine.
What’s a rounded thoracic spine (we’re guessing that’s your first question)? The thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae and it’s the section of spine that’s in your chest area. When you hunch over your desk or laptop, you might “round” this part of your back, causing a curve. It’s important to straighten this out as rounding in your thoracic spine causes a domino effect (see the following steps which are all caused by a rounded thoracic spine).
Here’s how to fix this:
- Grab a bar or a broomstick and lay flat on the ground (belly down) with your arms stretched out above your head, gripping the broomstick.
- With your hands on either end of the broomstick, gently roll so that your head and torso are facing up, keeping your arms on the broomstick and above your head.
- You won’t roll completely to your back as the bar or broomstick will wedge on the floor and keep you from doing so. Gently roll from each side, holding the position for a few seconds, so that you stretch out that upper back and lose the rounding in your thoracic spine.
2. Stop rounding your shoulders.
Rounded shoulders can be a consequence of a rounded thoracic spine and once you slump, you’re asking for shoulder pain. To “dump the slump” per se, you’ll need to start doing “face pulls”.
- Use the machine at the gym (ask your local trainer which one if you’re unsure) or take a resistance band and wrap it around something solid, like a tree or a pole.
- Take one end of the resistance band in each hand and hold it up at chest height.
- Pull back by keeping your elbows level, your thumbs upright, and squeezing the muscles in your chest and upper back.
- Hold for a few seconds and then release. Repeat ten times.
This helps you to rotate your shoulders and strengthen your chest and back. Both of these will ultimately help you to lose the rounded shoulders.
3. Say goodbye to “Nerd Neck”.
A rounded thoracic spine and rounded shoulders subsequently leads to “nerd neck”. Because your back and shoulders are rounding down, in order to see what’s in front of you, you end up tilting your head up in an uncomfortable position. And therefore, looking like a total nerd.
To fix this unfortunate pose, there are two parts to the exercise. Laying flat on a bench with your feet firmly placed on the ground, tuck a tennis ball under your chin. This will help you to use and strengthen muscles deep within your neck. Then, take a 5 pound weight wrapped in something soft (like a t-shirt) and place it gently against your forehead and lean back. Then slowly return to your neutral position.
This will help to strengthen the weakened muscles in your neck that happened due to rounded shoulders and a rounded spine.
4. Straighten your posterior pelvic tilt.
When you have started slumping your spine, your shoulders, and your neck, it can all lead to you tucking your pelvis under too. Not only is this unattractive, but it can tighten up your hamstrings and lead to other issues as well.
In order to loosen up those hamstrings and help correct your tucked in pelvis, place your foot on the edge of a curb or step and flex your toes up toward your face. Then lean your torso forward and force your buttocks out as far as you can. Then reach your arms out in front of you as far as you can and hold the position for 45 seconds. Then do the same thing, but put the other foot on the curb or step this time. This will help reverse the tilt of your pelvis and stretch out your hamstrings.
Before trying any of these moves, be sure to book a consultation with our fitness expert, Jodi Stokes. She can assess your current physical condition, help show you how to correct posture, and help you get on the right track towards physical health and wellness with a personal training plan.
Looking for a trainer to help you establish healthy exercise habits and keep you motivated and accountable? Work with LifeScape Fitness Expert, Jodi Stokes!
Originally published on 9 Aug 2018