5 Simple Stretches for Improving Posture
You’re slouched at your desk, your back is aching, your head is heavily pulling upon your ‘screaming’ neck, you feel tired and your ‘tension’ headache is ‘grinding glass’ behind your ‘gritty’ eyes… You think to yourself “How have I ignored my body’s cries for help, for such a long time?”.
One of the leading causes of neck, shoulder and back pain is the incredibly poor posture that we are all so guilty of adopting whilst seated at our workstation or desk. This ‘slouched’, rounded shoulder, ‘slumped’ sitting position causes pain, increases stress, increases fatigue, induces tension headaches and overall, decreases our body’s ability to function at our most harmonious and holistic level.
So how can you alter your posture and bring your body towards a greater state of ease?
Well, here is 5 simple stretches for improving your posture taken from the Muscle Map to Stretching that you can perform at and around your desk to reshape the way you hold yourself and bring about a greater state of body ease:
- The Seated Neck Stretch – Laterally flex the head to one side and using your opposite hand, grasp over the top of your head (with your fingers resting just above your ear) and apply a mild force towards the direction you are flexing your head. To increase the stretch, bring your other arm behind your back by extending your shoulder and flexing your elbow.
- The Posterior Shoulder Stretch – With thumbs facing forward, place both hands on the waist, curl the spine forward, push the elbows outward and towards the floor.
- The Anterior Shoulder Stretch – Seated or standing, place your hands downward on your posterior hips and retract (adduct) your scapulas by bending your elbows towards each other behind your body. To increase the stretch, push out your chest or have another person push your elbows towards each other behind you.
- The Forward Bend Stretch – Standing, (perform all of these movements in a relaxed way. There is no need to over-reach or force this stretch initially) beginning with the head, let it flex forward at the neck, round the shoulders forward and flex ‘curve’ the spine and flex forward at the hips. Keeping the knees ‘locked out’ let the body drape forward into a forward bend and just relax towards your toes, letting your spine open and stretch naturally.
- The Relaxed Chest Stretch – With the feet in an open stance (about 30 cm apart), grasp one hand in the other behind your back (your preference as to which feels more comfortable), allowing them to rest upon the posterior pelvis and allow your body to relax. This will naturally pull your shoulders into a more neutral anatomically correct position and take the pressure off of your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles.
So, do these stretches sound like something that you could likely incorporate into your day?
It is not always easy to change our daily habits. However, with small adjustments every day, each adds up to so many wonderful improvements that will reshape our bodies for the better, bring about more relaxation, less pain, a reduction in stress and an overall greater state of homoeostasis.
So why not give at least one of these stretches a try? I guarantee, if you stick at it, you won’t regret it!