Start to look and feel better instantly!
Continuous sitting is starting to make us all look a little lifeless. Take 10 minutes a day to bring the spring back into your step and just wait for the shower of compliments that come your way!
It seems like everyone these days is either sitting hunched over a desk, on a computer, or simply on their couch while they watch television. In addition to poor posture, this habit can cause you to take shallow breaths, which can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, and decreased concentration and focus. Take 10 minutes a day to work on your posture with the following 7 exercises, and you won't believe how much better you'll look and feel in only a couple of weeks!
1. Core firing
One of the most important aspects of better posture is a strong, stable core. Activating your core, core firing, increases the strength of your abdominal musculature as well as the musculature in your back. Your abdominal muscles will help keep you upright, and the muscles in your back will help support your spine and help negate the effects of sitting or standing all day. It can also help decrease low back pain!
- Take a deep breath in, then breathe out with your hand on your abdomen. You will feel your abdominal muscles tighten when you have fully exhaled - this is core firing.
- Tighenten your core while maintaining your breath and hold for 10 seconds.
- Relax for 30 seconds.
- Repeat this cycle 3-4 times.
- Eventually, work your way up to firing your core for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time.
2. Pec stretch
This stretch helps to open up the chest muscles that are too frequently shortened by hunching over, causing the shoulders to rotate forwards and decreasing our lung capacity.
- Find a doorframe you can use for this stretch.
- Place your forearms including your eblows on the sides of the doorframe.
- Take a small step forward to expand your chest, allowing the doorframe to pull your arms back. Make sure your head is up and you are looking straight ahead.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat twice.
3. Wall slides
This movement will address the hunched upper back by strengthening the upper back musculature, pulling your shoulders back throughout the day.
- Lean against a wall with your shoulder blades and buttocks touching the wall, and your feet 1 step in front of the wall (not touching it).
- Start by bringing your arms up and placing them on the wall with your elbows and wrists touching the wall, and your palms facing outwards.
- Slowly slide your arms up the wall, making sure to keep contact with your elbows and wrists as best as you can.
- Lower arms back to starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
4. Upper back extension
The goal of this movement is to stretch out muscles and ligaments in the upper back that are consistently lengthened due to poor posture.
- Find a chair with a low backrest that only comes upto your mid spine. Alternatively, you can find a chair or bench that reaches your mid spine if you sit on the floor in front of it.
- Make sure you are sitting up straight with your spine in line
- Reach your arms up above your head, and very slowly, lean backwards against the backrest or bench. You want to pretend that you are trying to hug the backrest or bench with your back.
- Hold that position for 5 seconds. Return back to starting position.
- Repeat 5 times.
(Make sure you reach your arms up, and hold the position for 5 seconds.)
5. Hip flexor stretch
The 90 degree position that our legs are in when sitting really tightens up the hip flexor muscles. If you place your hand just below your hip bone and raise your knee up to 90 degrees, you can feel this muscle contracting. Counteract this shortening of the muscle through this stretch.
- Place one knee on the floor and and place the other leg at a 90 degree angle in front of you.
- Slowly lean your hips forward and squeeze glute on the side of the knee that is on the floor. You should feel a stretch in the hip flexor area.
- For a more advanced movement, imagine rotating the side of the hip that is being stretched outwards, then raise the arm on the same side up with your palm facing inward toward your body.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Repeat twice.
6. Hip thrusts
While our hip flexors are shortening during sitting, the opposing muscles, our glutes, are lengthening and losing their strength. This exercise will help tone your glutes and pull your hips back to a straight, neutral position.
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent and palms flat on the floor next to you.
- While tightening your abs and glutes, lift your hips up to create a bridge with your body, and hold for 5 seconds.
- Slowly lower yourself back to the ground.
- Repeat 10 times.
7. Leg raise
This might look like a funny movement, but it effectively tones the smaller muscles in your glutes, and creates a stronger force to keep your hips neutral, and in line.
- Lie on the floor on your side with the leg on the floor slightly bent.
- Raise your upper leg up into the air, as high as you can raise it without moving your hips.
- Focus on using your glutes, and try not to rock your hips back and forth.
- Hold the leg up in the air for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other leg.