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Sitting and standing with good posture can not only help you look younger and lighter, but psychologically, good posture conveys confidence, leadership and poise. That being said, slouching is sometimes hard to avoid, as sitting at a desk all day can take a huge toll on our posture and the strength of our backs. Oftentimes, we might not even notice our poor posture, as it develops so gradually that you may notice its symptoms (back and neck pain, lower rage in motion, increased injuries, and stiffness) long before you notice your shoulders hunching over. Luckily, there are a variety of simple exercises and stretches you can do at home to reverse the slump!
When it comes to good posture, a strong core is key. Your core includes the abdominals, lower back, obliques and hips. Remember – strong core muscles don’t just keep you looking fit and resistant to injury; they also hold your body up, and keep you aligned. The classic plank or a side plank is a great core exercise that tightens many abdominal muscles at once while also working the back and shoulder.
Rounded shoulders are often caused by spending hours hunched over a desk or computer, driving or watching TV, shortening and stiffening the muscles in your shoulders and chest, and weakening the muscles in your back. You can improve your posture by strengthening the weak upper back muscles and stretching muscles in your chest with exercises such as rowing. With time, rowing (either with a resistance band, with a machine, or in a boat) will naturally pull back the shoulders.
Sitting in bad posture all day can lead to serious strain and tension on our shoulders and neck, so it is crucial for our comfort that we give them some relief every once in a while. This simple stretch can work wonders in relieving pain and encouraging correct posture for everyone, particularly those who work at a desk all day. Shoulder rolls are great because they can be done while sitting or standing and require no equipment – or even active wear for that matter. To build up that soon-to-be-released tension, inhale and raise your shoulders toward your ears, and H=hold for a few seconds before exhaling your shoulder blades back down and together.
When trying to improve posture, it is essential to focus your exercises on one part of your core in particular – your back. In order for your body to sit on stand in the right position, you must have a strong back to hold everything up. Back extensions are great in isolating the back and strengthening the muscles in that region. Lie face down, extending arms above the ground, lifted slightly higher than your head. While keeping your head aligned with your spine all times, lift your chest and shoulders above the ground as much as possible, then return to the starting position.