A basic requirement for good health is good posture. If our posture fails, we are having a problem of “origin” and even if we spend time and money buying the best footwear in the world, if we do not stand up well, we are not going to feel better. Improving posture should be our challenge to correct pain and other health conditions.

4 Simple Exercises to Improve Posture

Did you know that for every 2.5 cm your head moves forward in the pose, your weight on your neck and upper back muscles increases by 4.5 kilos?

For example, a 5.5 kilo human head held forward just 7 cm from the shoulders results in 19 kilograms of pressure on the neck and upper back muscles. That’s the equivalent of almost three watermelons resting on your neck and back!

When your posture is neglected, it invites chronic back pain. Arching your lower back while sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer, standing for hours hunched over, sleeping inadequately, and getting up poorly can all lead to debilitating pain.

Maintaining the natural lumbar curve in the lower back is essential to prevent posture-related back pain . This natural curve works like a shock absorber, helping to distribute weight along the length of the spine. Adjusting for postural distortions can help stop back pain.

A basic remedy for sitting all day is simply getting up. Getting up frequently from a sitting position and doing these six quick and easy reset exercises can help re-educate your muscles from getting stuck in a hunched caveman position.

1. Pressure on the chin to improve posture

Pushing on the chin can help reverse the forward head posture by strengthening the neck muscles. This exercise can be done sitting or standing. Start with your shoulders back and down. Facing forward, place two fingers on your chin, tuck your chin in slightly, and move your head back (see image). Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and then release it. Repeat 10 times.

Tip: The more you create a double chin, the better the results will be when improving posture. If you are in a parked car, try putting pressure on your chin by pressing the back of your head on the headrest for 3-5 seconds. Do 15-20 repetitions.

2. Angel wall

Stand with your back against a flat wall with your feet 4 inches apart. from the base. Maintain a slight bend in the knees. Your glutes, spine, and head should all be against the wall. Bring your arms with your elbows bent so that your arms are parallel to the ground and squeeze your shoulder blades, forming a letter “W” (image on the left). Hold the position for 3 seconds.

Then straighten your elbows by lifting your arms up to form the letter “Y” Make sure not to shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Repeat this 10 times, starting from the “W”, hold for 3 seconds and then raise your arms in a “Y” for 2-3 sets.

3. Stretches at the door

 

This exercise relaxes tight chest muscles. Stand in a doorway, raise your arm that is parallel to the floor, and bend your elbow with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Put your hand on the door frame.
Slowly lean into your raised arm and push against the door frame for 7-10 seconds.

Release the pressure and then press your arm against the door frame again, this time entering into a slight lunge with your legs so that your chest moves forward past the door frame for 7-10 seconds (image from the left).

Repeat this exercise two to three times on each side.

4. Bent knee stretch to improve posture

Kneel on your right knee, toes down, and place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you.

Place both hands on your left thigh and press your hips forward until you feel a good stretch in your hip flexor muscles.

Contract your abs and slightly tilt your pelvis back, keeping your chin parallel to the floor (image on the left). Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, and then switch sides.

The next two exercises require a resistance band.

5. Movement X

This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles of the upper back, especially between the shoulder blades (the rhomboids).

Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward. Place half of the resistance band around the soles of your feet and cross one side over the other to form an “X.”

Grab the ends of the band with your arms extended in front of you.

Pull the ends of the band toward your hips, bending your elbows so they point (left image) back. Hold and come back slowly. Do 8-12 reps of three sets.

Movement V

According to a 2013 study by the Scandinavian Society for Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, performing this simple resistance band exercise 2 minutes a day, five times a week, will significantly reduce your neck and shoulder pain and improve your posture.

While standing, stagger your feet so that one is slightly behind the other. Grasp the handles, or the ends, of the resistance band and lift your arms up and slightly outward away from your body about 30 degrees.

Maintain a slight bend in the elbows. Stop at shoulder level; wait and come back.

Make sure to keep your shoulder blades down and your back straight. Repeat this exercise for 2 minutes every day, five days a week.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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