Since Kristin posted her 2012 New Year Resolutions, I have been meaning to do a post about posture to help her scratch that off her list before 2013 🙂 As a physical therapist, I figured I could put my 2 cents in and help out a bit.
Fist of all, I dug this out and listened to it like 3 times today. May be the BEST Christmas album of all time…unless the BeeGee’s did one that I am unaware of 😉
I know it’s goofy because it’s a skeleton but really, really great posture. If I could figure out how to draw a line here you would see! Where his ear would be is lined up with the edge of his shoulder, which in turn lines up with the side of his hip and ankle….here’s a good example too…
(sorry that picture is so big!) So I think you get the idea. Bad posture is so common these days due to increased sedentary jobs and, well, laziness. Nearly everyone could benefit from doing some exercise to keep posture in check. Do you look like this?
I know it’s really exaggerated but take a look around…you’ll see more people looking like this than you think! I really pushed my head out there too, but even without pushing, mine tends to go forward. I’m a turtle head! And also, notice how rounded my shoulders are. You can’t really tell here either but I’m also not using my core so my whole spine is way more curved than it should be, putting extra pressure on my discs and increasing chance of low back injury.
So, if this is you, or if you want to practice a bit to keep your bad posture at bay I’ve got some things for you to try! First, to decrease ‘turtle head,’ picture a string at the very back of your head and imagine it’s getting drawn up…almost like you’re a puppet. The back of your head should lift up, flattening your neck a little, while your chin tucks in (not looking down). Try to hold that position throughout the day. If you have questions on this leave a comment below!
Also, to stretch out the pectoral muscles which may be tight due to rounded shoulders try this. This is one of my personal favorites. If given to a patient, I prefer to use a foam roller so if you have one of those great! Otherwise, I will roll up a towel like so…
You don’t have to fold your pillow like mine is but I use a really flat, pancake pillow so I needed too. The main thing is that when you lie down, your head doesn’t tip backwards toward the floor. Then you lie down with the towel roll between your shoulder blades, head on the pillow, and spread your arms out to the side…
This was the best I could do on my own…sorry! But find a comfortable spot for your arms. You should feel a gentle stretch across the front of your chest. This also helps to decrease some stiffness in your thoracic spine due to poor posture. I think it feels great, myself!! If your fingers fall asleep bring your arms down to your side for awhile. You could also alternate raising one arm up over your head, the other down and with arms wide bring em in for a big bear hug!
Any questions? If so, leave a comment. I may be able to dig up better pictures or have Adam take some of me if anyone requests!
Happy stretching! Let me know how it goes!
(The exercises mentioned may not be for everyone. It’s best to check with your MD before starting any exercise program)