Poor posture is becoming an increasingly common complaint in this day of computer-based jobs and entertainment. We are spending more and more time in front of our workstations and in our cars, which can have an effect on our overall posture.
In order to avoid suffering the pain and discomfort that is associated with attaining poor posture, there are a number of simple yet effective stretching exercises that you can do to help your back, neck and shoulders stay supple and healthy. This will in turn increase your overall quality of everyday life.
Find a towel or similar piece of material and roll it up lengthwise into the shape of a log. Lay this on the floor before lying on it with your back. The top of the ‘log’ should rest between your shoulder blades and the bottom should end just above your own bottom. Keep your legs straight while stretching your arms out to the sides with your palms facing upwards in a "T" pose and hold for as long as you are able.
Stand with your back against a wall with your feet a couple of feet in front of you and lean back. Try to touch your shoulders, back and butt to the wall simultaneously before slowly tilting your head back to touch the wall as well. If you have poor posture, it will be difficult or impossible to do this, so just go as far as you can and hold it for 30 seconds if you are able.
Simple Chest Stretch
An easy stretch that anyone can do almost anywhere. Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart and your head up. Reach your hands behind your back and interlock your fingers, before pulling back your shoulders and raising your clasped hands away from your back as far as you can until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold this position for around 30 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Standing straight with hands on your hips; step forward with your right foot and slowly bend the knees while keeping your back straight. You should feel the stretch in your hips after a few seconds. Hold for 5-10 seconds before returning to the starting point and repeat with the opposite leg.
Remember that a little goes a long way when performing this move. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to work the hip flexors, so go easy when stretching here or you could injure yourself.
Upwards Pelvic Thrust
This is a great exercise for stretching your hips, butt and hamstrings, as well as your core muscles.
Lie on your back with your legs together and bent upwards at 90 degrees. Keep your arms at your sides and palms facing the floor. Slowly begin to raise your butt up off the floor until you are forming a straight line with your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Hold this position just for a couple of seconds before returning to the start. Repeat this as many times as you can.
It is important to keep good form during this exercise. Make sure that you keep your head and neck still by not lifting the back of your head off of the floor and focussing on a spot on the ceiling.