Poor posture is a common problem, especially for those whose occupation required long hour of sitting at a desk. With over half the population having an office type job, it is clear why so many struggle with back and neck issues caused by poor posture. Outside of the typical office job, “text neck” is a common thing our physical therapists see. Any time you are in a slouched position looking at a phone or screen it can cause back and neck issues over time. Being aware of your posture and practicing a few daily exercises can make all the difference in the health of your spine.
Our physical therapists at MPOWER know what it takes to teach their patients good habits that will help with posture and back pain.
Why is Good Posture So Important?
Good posture means good spine health, which is the center of most aches and pains. Once your spine health declines, you may see other areas of your body start to hurt as well. We encourage our patients to focus on doing small things throughout the day that can help prevent and improve your spine health! Fun fact: having a healthy spine can help your brain and spinal cord work together to carry out all your body’s functions!
5 Exercises That Help Improve Posture
Cat-Cow Yoga Stretch
Start by putting all four (hands and knees) on the ground. Gently bow your back (like a cat) making an arch shape. Stay in this position for around 5 seconds and shift into the cow position. For cow, gently arch your back and lift your head up, making a U-shape with your spine. Slowly move from cat to cow holding each position for around 5 seconds and repeating 10 times. This is a great stretch to do in the morning to start your day!
Now that your spine is ready to get moving for the day, move on to a slightly more difficult stretch. This is one of the best stretches for good posture because it is the opposite position compared to a sitting posture.
Laying on your stomach with your feet hip width apart, place your hands face down by your shoulders. Tighten your quads so that your knees are off the ground and slowly press into your hands lifting your chest off the ground as much as possible. Go slow and only do a little at a time until you can fully extend your arms. Practice this exercise daily and you will begin to see slight improvements to your posture overtime.
Strengthening your core and glute is important when trying to improve your posture and spine health. Start by laying on the ground on your back. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly use your glutes to lift your hips off the ground. Hold at the top for 3 seconds and repeat this exercise 10 time for 3 sets.
Over- And- Backs
This exercise focuses on mobilizing the upper body and opening up the chest and shoulder muscles that pull you forward into a hunched posture. Grip a band or towel with a wide grip and without bending your elbows, raise it over your head and then behind your back as much as possible. Then once it is behind your back come back over your head and to your chest keeping your elbows strait throughout the exercise.
Standing, put one hand on your hip and lift your arm above your head. Reaching your arm towards the opposite side of your body, slowly extend up and back behind your body at a diagonal. Think about reaching towards the ceiling and experiment with different angles until you feel the best stretch for your side. Hold this position for 10 seconds and release. Repeat as needed until you start to feel loose.
As always, it is important to coordinate with a physical therapist for improving your posture. A physical therapist will know the best exercises for your specific body and can give great tips and tricks to speed up the process! Our physical therapists in Nashville can help