Did you know that for every inch the head moves forward in posture, its weight on your neck and upper back muscles increases by 10 pounds?
For example, a human head weighing 12 pounds held forward only 3 inches from the shoulders results in 42 pounds of pressure on the neck and upper back muscles. That’s the equivalent of almost three watermelons resting on your neck and back!
When you neglect your posture, you invite chronic back pain. Rounding your low back while sitting for extended periods of time in front of a computer, standing for hours stooped over, sleeping improperly and lifting poorly can all lead to debilitating aches.
Maintaining the natural lumbar curve in your low back is essential to preventing posture-related back pain. This natural curve works as a shock absorber, helping to distribute weight along the length of your spine. Adjusting postural distortions can help stop back pain.
Why posture’s so important?
Having good posture is about more than looking good. It helps you to develop strength, flexibility, and balance in your body. These can all lead to less muscle pain and more energy throughout the day. Proper posture also reduces stress on your muscles and ligaments, which can reduce your risk of injury.
Improving your posture also helps you become more aware of your muscles, making it easier to correct your own posture. As you work on your posture and become more aware of your body, you might even notice some imbalances or areas of tightness you weren’t previously aware of.
Is Your Posture Bad?
Let’s examine some examples of poor posture versus good posture.
- Poor Posture: Rounded shoulders, slouching, head tilted forward, bent knees, pot belly
- Good Posture: Straight line from your ear to your shoulder to your hip, balanced and upright posture
A basic remedy to sitting all day is to simply get up! Frequently getting up from a seated position and doing these realignment exercises can help you reeducate your muscles from getting stuck in a hunched over cave man position.
1. Child’s pose
This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.
To do this:
- Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
- Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
- Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
- Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
- Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
- Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
- Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.
This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.
To do this:
- Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
- Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
- Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
- Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
- Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
- Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.
Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is a simple yoga position that can help improve posture. Mountain Pose focuses on upright body alignment, and it incorporates several aspects of good posture.
To do Mountain Pose:
- Stand upright with the feet hip width apart.
- Make sure to spread your weight evenly through both feet. Try gently rocking forward and backward to feel how variations in weight distribution affect posture.
- Keep a slight bend in your knees, squeeze your thighs, and tilt your tailbone down.
- Drop your shoulders down and back, so your chest comes forward
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and allow your arms to fall to the sides of the body with your palms facing forward.
- Inhale and exhale slowly for a few breaths.
4.Reverse plank bridge