If you’re like most of us, you probably spend way too much time at a desk on the computer.
Our modern lifestyles and careers require us to spend a lot of time sitting... And sit we do! But the fact is that the position that we often find ourselves in, slouching and sitting scrunched over a computer, isn’t doing us any favors.
Bad posture has a number of negative side effects and has been linked to back pain, spinal dysfunction, and joint degeneration. Scary stuff. Good posture, on the other hand, can reduce some of the stress on our ligaments and joints and can help to improve muscle strength and flexibility. Not to mention, it can help you look slimmer and younger. It’s like a miracle cure that you can give yourself. And it’s free. Super!
If you’re in the market for a leaner, sleeker physique, here are five stretches that can help to promote better posture.
1. Chest and Shoulder Stretch
Stretching your shoulders can help to open the pectoral muscles, release tension in your back and improve circulation. To perform this stretch, stand up, interlock your fingers behind your back, and slowly lift your arms up. Lift your arms as high as they can go without lifting your shoulders. Then, drop them back down and repeat. You should feel your spine lengthening and stretching.
2. Standing Tall
Find a flat wall and put your back, heels, and shoulder blades firmly against it. Imagine someone is pulling you up by your hair (nicely, of course!). Stretch your body upward as high as it can go, all while keeping your feet flat on the ground and your heels and shoulder blades against the wall. Stand in this position for 30 seconds at a time.
3. Pilates Swimming Exercise
This Pilates Swimming Exercise can help strengthen your back and improve your posture. Begin by lying face down on the floor with your arms and legs outstretched. Next, pull your navel up and raise your upper back and head off the mat. Lift your right arm and your left leg off the mat, and begin an even rhythm of swimming, alternating your arms and legs. Swim for twenty-four beats.
4. Spine Stretch
A spine stretch or spinal extension is important for proper posture. To stretch your spine, lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders in a “push up” position. Elevate your chest and arch your spine. Hold the position for three breaths, then lower yourself to the ground. Repeat ten times.
5. Superman Stretch
To begin the Superman Stretch, lie face down on your stomach. Extend your arms and legs and keep your neck in a neutral position. Then, keeping your arms and legs straight and torso stationary, lift your arms and legs up toward the sky to form a broad “U” shape with your body. Hold for two to five seconds and repeat those holds in sets of twelve. Yelling “I can fly!” is entirely optional.
So, there you have it. Five awesome stretches that will help you to loosen up and develop strength in key muscles, all which will lead to improved posture. For the best results, try to do two or three series of stretches a day. And of course, make sure you get up and take a break from your desk every so often. You have our permission to do so!