With an increasing number of people getting desk jobs, the problem of incorrect posture has reached its pinnacle. Working on computers with an incorrect posture can increase your chances of getting problems like cervical spondylosis and neck pain.
This is also responsible for many people getting spinal disorders from prolonged periods of sitting. If you have a desk job or if you find yourself sitting or standing for long durations, you need to learn about the correct sitting and standing postures.
This little investment of time now will save you a lot of time and trouble in the future. If you’ve an incorrect posture, we’ve got you covered. Do these simple exercises and stretches to improve your posture:
1. Neck Stretches
People of all age groups are developing a forward head. This is also known as the ‘text neck’. This happens when people spend long hours looking down into their phones or spend a lot of time in front of their computers in a wrong posture.
This over time leads to problems like cervical and neck pain. If you’re having a hard time rotating your neck or bending it to your sides, there are high chances you’re suffering from a forward head. There is no need to worry, regular exercise and a correct posture can fix this problem.
- Keep your head in line with your shoulders and maintain a flat back. Now try to touch your ear to your shoulder and hold it at that position, and then gently rotate your head to the left so you end up looking upwards.
- Place one arm behind your back, and then gently tilt your head in the opposite direction, and slowly roll back until a stretch is felt.
2. Back Stretches
Kyphosis is commonly used to refer to the clinical condition of excess curvature of the upper back (greater than 50 degrees), leading to a stooped forward posture. This excessive curvature is also known as a hump or a hunchback.
This condition mostly occurs due to slouching while sitting and standing. Kyphosis can develop at any age and can affect both men and women. While the condition usually develops in the upper back, it is also possible to develop it in the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back).
A few symptoms of kyphosis are:
- A hunched forward appearance, usually most pronounced when viewed from the side as the patient is bending forward
- Mild to severe back pain
- Loss of height
- Difficulty standing straight upright, worsening over the course of a day
- Foam rolling: lay the foam roller across the spine in the middle of your back right below your shoulder blades. Lift your hips off the ground, roll forward so the foam roller travels down your back an inch. Repeat until the foam roller is hovering a couple inches below your neck. If you feel any areas of stiffness, stay roll back and forth on top of the area for 10-15 seconds.
- Prone Y Extension: Lie flat on the floor with your legs shoulder width apart and your arms extended in a “Y” over your head. Lift your torso off the ground while simultaneously externally rotating your shoulders so that your palms are facing upwards. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds, then lower down. Repeat for three sets of eight repetitions.
3. Calf Stretches
An incorrect standing or walking posture can lead to tight calves. Tight calves are also very common amongst women who wear heels regularly as their calves adapt to the shortened position. Wearing heels is like walking on your toes the entire time.
If you have tight calf muscles, they cannot effectively perform their jobs. This will make your other muscles and joints work harder. All of this imbalance caused by your tight calf muscles can lead to a variety of aches and pains that can be located anywhere from your toes to your low back.
- Wall Calf Stretch: Stand a little less than arm’s distance from the wall. Step your left leg forward and your right leg back, keeping your feet parallel. Bend your left knee and press through your right heel.
- Wall or Curb Stretch: Find a wall and stand a few inches away. With one foot, put your toes on the wall, keeping your heel on the floor, and flex. Hold for about 10-15 seconds, then alternate with your other foot. You can also do this stretch using a curb or step and hanging your heels off the ledge.
4. Chest Stretches
Rounded shoulders are another gift prolonged hours near a computer screen has given us. Other people who get rounded shoulders are the ones who perform pushing movements more than the pulling movements in the gym.
Look into a mirror to find if you have rounded shoulders. Better yet, look at your recent pictures and you’ll find out. If you happen to be camera shy, take the pencil test. Stand up straight with a pencil in your hands and let your arms hang naturally by your sides.
In a good posture, the pencils should be pointing directly forward, however with rounded shoulders, the pencils will be turned towards each other.
- Back Bound Hand Pose: Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and bring both arms and hands behind you. Grab the right elbow with the left hand and then grab the left elbow with your right hand.
- Dynamic Chest Stretch: Stand with your hands together, arms extended directly in front of you. This will be your starting position. Keeping your arms straight, quickly move your arms back as far as possible and back in again, similar to an exaggerated clapping motion. Repeat five to 10 times, increasing speed as you do so.