Today, many of us sit in front of the computer working all day, chasing that next promotion. You may find yourself in back-to-back meetings — or at your desk — straight through lunch hour. When was the last time you really paid attention to your posture? How is your lower back? How is your neck feeling?
According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain affects eight out of ten people. Our bodies were designed for walking and other movements throughout the day. We were not designed to sit in chairs for long periods of time with little movement. All that sitting puts our bodies at risk of having bad posture.
Bad posture can:
Cause some muscles to work harder than others, creating muscular imbalances.
Decrease the range of motion in your joints.
Interfere with breathing and damage your heart and lungs (due to a bent spine restricting the expansion of the rib cage).
Leave you tired (due to muscles working extra hard just to hold you up).
Lead to rounded shoulders, headaches, back pain, and all kinds of body aches.
Good posture means the muscles in your body align properly. That allows you to move efficiently in your daily activities. Does good posture seem out of your reach? Try these four easy steps:
1. Strengthen your core muscles.
Plank hold (15-30 seconds)
Partial crunches (8-12 times)
Side planks (15-30 seconds on each side)
Floor back extensions (8-12 times)
2. Strengthen and stretch your upper body to fix rounded shoulders.
Reverse dumbbell flies (8-12 times)
Rows with dumbbell (8-12 times)
Chest stretch (hold 10-15 seconds)
Upper back stretch (hold 10-15 seconds)
3. Strengthen and stretch your neck muscles.
Chin tuck (8-12 times)
Isometric holds from the left, right, front, and back of the head (15-30 seconds)
Chin to chest stretch (10-15 seconds)
Ear to shoulder stretch (10-15 seconds)
4. Strengthen and stretch your hip joints.
Bridges (8-12 times)
Laying side leg raises (8-12 times)
Standing quad stretch (10-15 times)
Laying hamstring stretch (10-15 times)
Perform these exercises two to three times a week, depending on your fitness level. Also, you can start with just one set of each exercise. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to add more sets without compromising form. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new fitness routine.