I’m sure majority of us have all felt a little tightness in either our neck, shoulders or lower back due to poor posture. During this time, people are working from home more and using technology more than ever which can cause slouching, tightness & pain. Not only does poor posture result in pain but it can impact your circulation, lung function and nervous system if not addressed.
Here are 5 ways to improve and correct your posture for the better!
#1 Be aware Being aware of what “good posture” is and recognising when you’re slouching and not practicing practicing it is by far the most beneficial tip.
A good posture refers to the three natural curves that are present in the spine. It is also called neutral spine. So, what exactly is correct posture?
chin parallel to the floor
shoulders even (roll your shoulders up, back, and down)
neutral spine (no flexing or arching to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)
arms at your sides with elbows straight and even
Pull abdominal muscles in
knees even and pointing straight ahead
body weight distributed evenly on both feet.
#2 Be mobile and active The detrimental effects of bad posture come when staying in a particular position over a long period of time. This can be fixed by being as active and as mobile as you can throughout your day. Getting the recommended steps in and being as mobile as you can will do wonders for your body. If you work at a desk or in a sedentary job, set a time every 45min-1hour to get up and do some light activity.
#3 Do yoga Yoga is amazing for your flexibility, strength and over all physical and mental health. Some specific poses that are great in improving posture include:
Down Dog- Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Stretch your elbows and relax your upper back. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, then draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an "A."
Mountain Pose- Stand with your feet hip width apart and a slight bend in your knees, ground your feet into the mat, place your hips in a neutral position, and tuck your tailbone under just slightly. Slide your shoulder blades down your back and reach the crown of your head toward the sky.
Cat/cow pose- From your hands and knees, inhale and round your back, then exhale and arch your back. Repeat this back and forth motion before bringing your spine to neutral.
Cobra Pose- Lying on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders, press down into the earth and lift your upper body, drawing your shoulders and the back of your toward the back of the room. Hold this pose for five breaths. Relax and repeat.
Childs Pose- Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs.
On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms out in front relaxing your shoulders and your head towards the ground. #4 Strength training Strength training helps to build up the bones, muscles, and all other supporting tissues of the body, including the lower back. This helps to improve your posture and keep you in better alignment throughout the day. In particular, training back and core will assist your overall posture. Things like pull ups are great for the common rounded shoulders and ab exercises will tighten the abdominal muscles and aid in keeping your spine and pelvis align.
#5 Foam rolling
Like it’s important to strengthen those muscles that are weak, stretching and releasing those that are tight is just as necessary. Foam rolling (also called self- myofascial release) is essentially a deep tissue massage that relaxes the deep muscles and fascia which is the connective tissue that encases our muscles. Here are some ways to use a foam roller which will benefit your posture.
Thoracic spine release & Extension- Place the foam roller horizontally across your upper back and interlock your fingers behind your head. Lift your glutes up off the ground and flex your elbows forward to expose your scapula. Roll gently over the top third of your back taking some deep breaths. After 10-12 reps go back to the starting position, place glutes on ground and extend back over the roller releasing through the chest and thoracic spine. Perform 2-3 sets
Latissimus Dorsi (lat) release- Lying on your side with your palm up, place the roller at the base of your lat pressing all of your weight against in. Roll gently forwards and backwards taking deep breaths. Stay here until you feel a release. Long Lie- Place the roller vertically behind you. Sit on the base of the roller and lie down with your tail bone, spine and neck supported on the roller. Bring your palms out to the side palms up. Raise your warms up and down along the ground 10-12 times. FitMiss Health Club has established themselves as a leader in women's health and fitness. We are here to help you feel strong, fit and healthy! Ask one of our trainers or see Chloe’s stretch sequence on our Instagram for inspiration!