In our last movement blog, we discussed the importance of priming the core before dynamic movement, and how by doing so, you ensure safer, more efficient movement when you exercise. This week, we’ll continue to explore the topic of posture.
We all generally spend too much time sitting down in front of a computer or slouched over our cell phones every day. Truth be told, I just caught myself hunching over my laptop as I typed that last sentence. There are often repercussions to these poor postural habits. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to experience a variety of back and neck aches because of poor posture. These aches usually aren’t caused by an acute incident, but rather from chronic overcompensation in certain muscles, and ‘laziness’ in other muscles, because we spend too much time sitting with poor alignment.
Oftentimes, the front of our body (i.e. chest, neck, hip flexors) gets really tight and short from all the sitting and slouching, which can cause the shoulders, head, and neck to round forward. This is usually accompanied by some shrugging in the shoulders and compromised breathing mechanics. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a vicious cycle – these imbalances perpetuate the all-to-common slouched position, and the slouched position causes these issues to get worse.
Fortunately, we can address most of these imbalances with a heightened sense of awareness about your posture and a couple of good stretches. Spending some time opening up the front of the body each week will go a long way in alleviating some of these issues. Check out this video on easy-to-do stretches that you can do on your own time. Generally speaking, these are easiest to fit in at the start or at the end of your day, although they will work well whenever you have a couple of minutes to spare.
0:05 – Prone chest opener
0:27 – Upward dog
0:44 – Medball thoracic stretch
0:58 – Shinbox extension
1:26 – Suspension trainer chest stretch
Breathe deeply, slowly and consistently throughout – you should feel the front of your body expand and open up with every breathe in, and you’ll also probably find it easiest to deepen your stretch as you exhale. Hold each stretch for up to a minute, or about 15-20 deep breaths.
Start gentle, especially if stretching isn’t something you do regularly.
The Ritual Team