A good posture looks elegant and strong but standing tall is about more than good looks.
Poor posture can cause headaches, back pain and fatigue. It puts your spine out of alignment and strains joints, muscles and ligaments in the back.
It can also lead to wear and tear on spinal discs.
A report from Harvard Medical School showed poor posture can cause incontinence as it puts pressure on your bladder. Slouching can also lead to heartburn as it puts pressure on the abdomen, forcing stomach acid upwards.
Here are some ways to make a difference to your posture and feel better as you do it.
It can take a while to see the benefits of these stretches, after all, muscles and ligaments have learnt to exist in certain arrangements. Give it some time, enjoy the added mobility and stand tall.
Pull your chin back, not down just back. This movement will feel unfamiliar at first but stick with it. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat this five times. You should feel a stretch in the muscles at the back of your neck close to the skull.
This exercise can be done many times a day. This is an ideal one to do at a red light.
CHEST RELEASE IN DOORFRAME
This exercise undoes the tightening of chest muscles. Stand in a doorway and place your palms up on the frame. Let your torso fall forward. Stay in the stretch for up to a minute.
Again, this is an exercise that can be repeated many times a day.
THE WALL PRESS
Stand against a blank wall with your knees slightly bent. Push your lower back, middle back and shoulders into the wall. Make sure there are no gaps between your back and the wall.
Try to also place your head against the wall with your chin tucked. This may be difficult if muscles are tight, just do your best. Hold the position for two to three minutes and repeat three times a day. Initially, you’ll feel the muscles along your spine working but over time they will become stronger.
These stretches can help maintain a fuller range of movement and remedy the muscle tightness that comes from modern life.
Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist with Full Circle Wellness. Call 0431 192 284 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au