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It's All About Posture

Stand tall! Shoulders back! Chest up! Growing up, you may have heard these words a few times from your parents; like most kids, you probably rolled your eyes, sighed and soon forgot whatever mom was saying and went back to kicking rocks. Who would have thought that this advice, if only followed intently, could have saved your neck, shoulders, back or even legs? Proper posture is not only important for your exercises, but is critical for all aspects of your physical health. Poor posture at the computer and poor posture while using our cellphones has created a new epidemic of poor posture.


Simple, common every-day activities can cause complex and tiresome structural issues that could take months to fix.


“If you keep making faces like that, your face will get stuck.” Does this sound familiar? Well this age-old adage has truth behind it as well. Our muscles are extremely quick at adapting to what we ask of them. Strength gains, flexibility gains, remembering certain movement patterns, and maintaining certain postures. This works for the good as well as for the bad. Repeated movement patterns are absorbed by the brain body connection like a sponge, they almost become habitual. As you can see in the diagrams, the further forward your head is bowed, the greater pounds of force are placed on your cervical vertebrae. This causes the body to react in a way which tightens the back of your neck (due to overuse of the trapezius muscles) and could potentially lead to shoulder or spinal issues in the future. We could dig deeper and deeper into what exactly happens as your posture changes, but I would rather tell you how to fix it.


Here are a few exercises you can do anywhere to help foster better posture:


The Superman:

This exercise is great for targeting your entire posterior chain and working your joints backwards. Specifically focus on keeping your shoulders down and back as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keeping your spine neutral, thumbs up, and your glutes tight. Hold and squeeze for 5-10 seconds.


Shoulder External Rotation:This exercise helps combat anterior shoulder roll (hunched Mid-Back) by strengthening your rotator cuff to support the back of your shoulder. Start with your elbow tucked by your side and hand across your stomach. Keeping your elbow tight by your side and your shoulder down, lock your shoulder blade back and slowly rotate at the elbow until your hand is just outside of your elbow. Slowly return your arm back to start, staying in control the whole time.


Horizontal Shoulder Abduction:

This exercise targets the back of your posterior deltoids, middle and lower trapezius, as well as your muscles between your shoulder blades. Start with elbows slightly bent, thumbs up, and arms placed directly in front of your shoulders. Begin to pull your shoulders backwards and pinch your shoulder blades together, sandwiching your spine between your shoulder blades. This can be done without any weight or resistance band and is extremely helpful in straightening your mid-back.


Scaption:

This exercise targets your rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius, lats and spinal erectors. Stand up straight, elbows by your side at 90 degrees, and hands directly in front of your elbows. Suck your chin backwards as you pinch your shoulder blades together, trying to keep the top of your shoulders depressed. Squeeze your lats as you are pinching your shoulder blades for added stability.


Proper posture and spinal alignment is critical to every aspect of health and wellness. All movement starts at the spine and works its way out. A proper aligned and functioning spine creates a stronger, healthier, better you! Give these exercises a shot at home, at the office, or in the car! 20-30 times per day and you will be on your way to improved posture and a stronger spine!

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