Do you spend a lot of time at your computer, device or reading a good book? All of these have one thing in common – your posture! Generally your head is down and your arms and shoulders are rounded forward. Over time this can effect your posture when standing as you begin to slouch more which can compromise your breathing and abdominal muscles.
Try this: slouch with your arms and shoulders forward and flex (bend) your trunk slightly. Now try to take a deep breath. Next stand upright with trunk vertical and shoulders pulled down and back then take another deep breath. What did you notice? Most likely the 2nd breath was more full and easier to do. The forward posture causes restrictions in the diaphragm and abdominals. But the good news is it’s easy to fix!
Begin by standing up and turn your head right and left a few times, then tip your ear to your shoulder both right and left.
Next roll your shoulders back by pushing them forward first, then up, then back, then roll them down and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
Then with your arms at your sides raise them up 90 degrees until they are straight out from your shoulders. With palms facing down push hand and arms slowly back 3 times keeping arms at shoulder height. As you push the arms back focus on contracting the muscles between your shoulder blades. Next turn your hands so your palms face forward and repeat pushing the arms slowly back 3 times while contracting the muscles of your back. Finally turn your palms to face upwards and repeat 3 times again. You can lower your arms each time after 3 repetitions or you can hold them up the entire time. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest when doing this.
The final stretch is to grasp your hands behind your back, pulling down. If you can’t reach your hands use a belt, rope or scarf and grasp with right hand, put it behind your back and grasp it with your left. Move your hands as close to each other as you can. Then lift your hands upward as far as you can and hold for 15-30 seconds. If you want to take it one step further, bend at the waist while pulling your arms further upward until your trunk is at 90 degrees to your legs and your hands are facing the ceiling. This can be a goal as your shoulders get looser and gain mobility or you can skip this last step.
Do this daily and you’ll see progress quickly in your posture, you’ll be more upright and aligned. Plus you’ll notice your ability to take easy, deep, relaxing breaths!