Good posture is vital for our overall health. It is about ensuring that you can hold the body upright at all times, whether in motion- running, walking, or when still- standing, sleeping, or sitting to prevent injuries, pain, or other health-related problems. Dynamic posture relates to how you hold your body when in motion, while Static posture relates to how you have it when still. The instrumental factor for a good posture is the excellent positioning of the spinal curves. These curves occur at the neck, mid, and lower back and should be maintained.
Poor posture (postural dysfunction) emanates from simple day-to-day habits such as phone usage, slouching while sitting, heavy lifting, improper sleep positioning, and many more. Factors such as old age and being overweight are also causes of poor posture. Poor posture can result in headaches, spinal dysfunction, rounded shoulders, muscular imbalance, joint degeneration, and back pain. However, it can be corrected by having an exercise and stretching routine.
Exercises to improve Posture
1. Bar Hang Up
The exercise is conducted by hanging from a pull-up bar.
- Locate a steady bar that can hold your weight, grab and hang from it with your arms.
- To raise the weight, unwind your muscles when your body begins to feel relaxed.
- Stay in the position for ten to 30 seconds.
- Release your body slowly from the bar and rest for about a minute.
- Repeat the exercise about six times.
Conduct the exercise two to three times a day.
2. Standing Spinal Stretch
The exercise works to stretch the spine and release any strain from weighed-down nerves for tension release, nerve compression reduction and loosening the inflexible paraspinal muscles.
- Stand straight with your feet almost shoulder-width apart while bending the knees not more than an inch.
- Place your arms over the head to be in line with the ears and incline the pelvis forward.
- Maintain a straight spine.
- Take long exhales and lower your arms for each spine vertebrae to rotate one at a time. Inhale.
- While moving up, keep your arms by the ears and maintain this position when lowering.
- Relax with your hands over your head.
3. Prayer Stretch
The stretch exercise is aimed at the lower back muscles and works to decompress the spine.
- Get on the floor on all fours and touch your feet with the glutes.
- Move forward, flexing the hip.
- Hold the pose for about ten to thirty seconds.
- To come back up, use your knees, take a break, and repeat.
4. Overhead Stretch
The exercise relaxes the upper back and shoulders. Bringing the arms overhead reduces shoulder and shoulder blade weight for decompression. The movement is highly effective for anyone with a bent seated posture.
- Stand straight with your legs about shoulder-width apart.
- Interlock your fingers and take your arms over the head. Keep the elbows straight.
- Rise towards the ceiling and hold the pose for about ten to thirty seconds, depending on your comfort.
5. Kitchen Sink Stretch
The kitchen counter height is about our hip level. It makes it perfect for stretching and elongating the upper body, the spine, hamstrings, quads, calves, and much more.
- Hold the sink’s edge while standing straight.
- Slowly lean back and straighten your elbows fully. Ensure your weight is pulled towards the back.
- Hold the position for about twenty to thirty seconds.
- Inhaling deeply, try to relax while still in the position.
- Repeat the steps about three times.
One can do this decompression exercise can be done as many times as one wishes.
6. Cat and Camel pose
The cat and camel pose is a yoga pose that decompresses the spine by stretching it in two alternate ways. It has been proven very effective for those with sciatica and pain on their backs. It creates room between the different vertebrae and alters the spine curvature for more flexibility. This exercise also boosts spinal circulation and fortifies the spine muscles that flank it.
- Get on the ground or floor on all fours (palms and knees).
- Align your knees with your hips and place the palms directly under the shoulders.
- Bend the back towards the floor or ground to achieve the cat pose. Hold the pose for about five to ten seconds and return to the original position.
- Now move or arch the spine upwards to create a hump-like position- camel pose. Hold for about five to ten seconds.
- Repeat the steps.
Doing the poses together is regarded as one repetition. In a day, you should do the exercise three to four times.
7. Child’s pose
The child’s pose is one of the effective exercises to improve posture that lengthens and stretches the spine. It is a popular yoga stretching exercise, also termed the resting pose. It efficiently works to decompress the lower back area.
- Kneel and push your lower back towards your feet. The big toes should touch, with you sitting on your heels and the knees separated just about the width of your hips.
- Stretch the arms in front, flexing forward until you get to a comfortable position.
- Hold the pose for fifteen to twenty seconds.
- Repeat the steps five times.
You can do this exercise as many times as you deem possible with different modifications and timings for position holding.
8. Knee to Chest Pose
It is done from a supine position. It is an effective exercise to improve posture that works to lengthen the spine and massage the back.
- Lie on your back, bend your knees while keeping your feet flat.
- Pull one knee leading to your chest with the other leg straight or with the other foot kept flat. Whichever position you choose, feel a good stretch on the lower back. The lower back should remain pressed on the floor.
- Hold for about fifteen to thirty seconds.
- Lower the knee back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
- Repeat the exercise about five times.
9. Feet on Chair
Feet on a chair is more of a position than an exercise intended for decompression. It is achieved by lying on the back with feet resting on a chair. It removes lower back stress.
- Sit on the floor or ground with a chair positioned a bit away in front of you.
- Lie on your back and place the lower legs on the chair.
- Stay in the position for about five minutes. You can increase the timing.
Many modern-day activities and habits contribute to poor posture. They can lead to overstretching and weakening of the spine and its muscles. Regular exercising and stretching will improve your posture significantly. Effective exercises to improve posture will target the spine and help you develop body flexibility, strength, and balance. Working towards a proper posture will reduce diseases, muscle and ligament stress, and reduce injury risks. A good posture will improve our core strength, improve our body form and functioning and ultimately boost our confidence. Good posture affects a lot more than we may think. We must take care of our body posture now to savor the benefits in the future.
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