Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Exercises to Improve Your Sitting Posture

Most of us spend a big part of our day sitting down, and often when we go home

we forgo physical exercise for an evening in front of the TV or

computer. Consequently, all of these extended sitting sessions lead to slouching

in our chairs. Even if we start by sitting upright, eventually our muscles
become fatigued, and we slouch automatically , letting our bones take the

brunt of the weight instead of our muscles. Over time, our bad sitting

posture becomes our “regular” posture, and slouching can cause a host of
problems: pain in the shoulders, joints, neck, lower back, knees, and even
headaches. The following exercises will train the muscles in charge of supporting
your spine, which will help you maintain the proper sitting position.

Better                     Posture

1. Strengthen your back with “Warrior” pose
The “warrior” pose is an exercise that strengthens your thighs and stretches 
your arms significantly – both areas are important in reducing strain on your spine.
Better                       Posture
To perform this exercise, start by standing with your legs straight together, 
and your arms stretched up. Step forward with your right leg until your knee 
is at a 90° angle, plant your foot firmly on the ground. Next, stretch your 
left leg back. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, and then stand back up. Repeat 
with the opposite leg.

2. Chest stretches
This exercise simulates pushups while in a standing position. It is designed to 
stretch your chest muscles and ease spinal pain.
Better                       Posture
Stand in an open doorway, place your hands at shoulder height outside 
the door frame. Bend your elbows and lean forward on your toes while keeping 
your chest straight, and then push forward, straightening your elbows. 
Repeat this action 5-10 times. The more you perform this exercise, the more 
you’ll notice that it gets easier to bend your elbows and resume your initial 
stance. Your goal is to be able to do 10-25 repetitions with ease.

3. Strengthen your gluts
Hip and lower back pains are often the results of weakened glut muscles 
that are having problems carrying the weight of your spine. When our sitting 
posture is incorrect, it takes the pressure off of our gluts, which ends up 
weakening them more. By performing the following exercise regularly, you 
can relieve much of the pain caused by inactive glut muscles, and prevent 
new pain from occurring.
Better Posture
To perform this exercise, lay a mat on the floor and lie down on your back, with 
your knees bent at a 45° angle, and your legs held tightly together. Now push 
your buttocks up, until your knees are bent at a 90° angle. Keep your chest 
down, clench your buttocks while focusing on pushing your legs down to the 
floor. Maintain this position for a few seconds and release.
Better Posture
If the exercise feels too easy, try raising one leg up while pushing your buttocks up.
4. Shoulder-strengthening pushups
In addition to regular pushups, you can perform this variation that trains 
and strengthens your shoulders, which provides better support during 
prolonged periods of sitting.

Begin in the pushup position, with your body leaning on your straightened-out 
arms, palms facing down, your back straight, and your legs stretched back. 
Next, instead of bending your elbows, keep your arms straight and allow 
your shoulders to move (as seen in the animation above). Repeat this exercise 
until you can easily perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

5. Stretching your Trapezoids
This simple stretch improves your shoulder region’s flexibility where it connects 
to the spine. This will help your neck be more limber and prevent future pain 
in the area.
Better                       Posture

Begin by standing or sitting on a chair without a back. Keep your back straight, 
your arms loose at the sides of your body and your legs straight and touching 
the floor. With one hand, reach up to touch the opposite side of your head, 
gently pulling it towards the shoulder. Avoid exerting force to avoid injuring 
the region. Remember that your hand is there to aid a deeper stretch in the 
neck. Keep your head in this position for 30 seconds, release, and then repeat 
for the other side. Perform this stretch twice per side.

6. Chest expansion
The next exercise is meant to expand your chest in order to relieve pain in the 
spine and help you resume an upright sitting position. You will need a 
counterweight, such as a spongy roll, or a rolled-up yoga mat.
Better Posture
Lean your back on the roll while maintaining a natural arch in your lower back 
and keep your chest elevated. Put your hands behind your head, placing your 
palms on the back of your neck, and lean down, and then straighten back up. 
Be sure to keep your chin up to prevent unnecessary stretching of the neck. 
When leaning back, focus on expanding your ribcage. During this exercise, your 
lower back should remain static.

7. Strengthen the shoulder blades
The goal of this exercise is to move the bones that connect your collar bone and 
your arm, in order to stretch and train your back muscles and help them provide 
full support for your spine.
Better Posture
Stand up straight with your shoulders loose. Move your shoulder blades towards 
each other until they meet, and remain in this position for 5 seconds. Release 
and repeat 5 times.

8. Thigh muscles stretch
The hip muscles provide support for our backs, but most of us never associate 
back pains with weak thigh muscles.
Better Posture
Begin by getting down on one knee, keeping it bent at a 90° angle, with your 
other leg pulled back, keeping your knee above your ankle.
It’s important to remember that performing these exercises once or twice a day
 will not counter 8 hours of sitting down, so make sure you’re aware of your 
posture when sitting and make an effort to take small breaks and perform 
mild physical exercise. However, following this routine will make it easier to 
resume a correct sitting position that won’t tire out your back.

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