3 Simple Stretches That Help Improve Your Posture
By Sara Butler
Posture is important, which is why the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic spend so much time educating patients about the importance of proper posture. But these doctors do more than talk about how to practice good posture, they show you ways to improve it.
Here are three simple stretches almost anyone can do that will help improve your posture and make your chiropractor proud.
Why Stretching Matters
Many people practice poor posture throughout the day. Whether they’re sitting hunched over their desks or walking or standing with slumped shoulders, all that droopiness adds up and can cause discomfort and back pain.
Taking the time to do a few simple stretches during the day can help to lengthen the muscles that have been shortened throughout the day through bad posture. This leads to increased flexibility and makes correcting your posture a whole lot easier.
Child’s pose is a great stretch that is as relaxing as it is beneficial to your posture. It helps to lengthen your spine, as well as your hamstrings and glutes as it releases tension from the neck and lower back.
You can do the child’s pose by:
- Sitting on your shins, knees together, and your heels relaxed out to the side while keeping your big toes together
- Bending forward at your hips, slowly walking your hands out in front of you
- Sinking your hips down toward your feet as you gently lower your head to the floor with your arms stretched out in front of you
- Breathing deeply as you feel your body being stretched
Hold this pose for as long as you feel comfortable. Relax and simply breathe deep as you feel your muscles lengthening and the tension of the day melting away.
The cat cow stretch has a funny name to be sure, but it’s a really effective way to stretch your spine and alleviate tension in your neck, shoulders, and torso.
To do cat cow, you simply need to:
- Get on your hands and knees, making sure to balance your body weight between all four extremities
- Make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists and that your hips are over your knees
- Drop your abdomen down toward the ground as you inhale, extending your spine
- Exhale and then arch your spine up toward the sky as you tuck your chin down toward your chest
Keep alternating these movements slowly for at least one minute. This is a great stretch to create spinal awareness, which can help you correct posture throughout the day. After all, being aware of your posture is the first step to fixing it!
Even if you feel as if you’re not very flexible at all, the forward fold is a great stretch to get you started. It can be modified by resting your hands on a table or chair as you do it if you feel you cannot bend over very far when starting out.
The forward fold helps to release tension and stretch the glutes, hamstrings, and spine. You can also feel a stretch in your legs and hips while doing it as you will likely feel the back side of your body lengthening and opening up.
To do the forward fold you simply:
- Stand up straight with your heels slightly apart and your big toes touching
- Put your hands on your hips (or place them on a chair or table in front of you) and fold forward, bending at the hips
- Slightly bend your knees and relax your hips, feeling your spine lengthen
- Allow your neck to relax and let your head dangle toward the floor
Hold this position for up to one minute. It’s an intense stretch so make sure you take it slow and don’t go too far in stretching out your hamstrings.
Stretching is a great way to get your blood flowing and it also helps to increase awareness of your own body. Body awareness is the goal -- along with lengthening your muscles -- since proper posture can become more of an automatic practice instead of one you must focus on. It’s great when you’re more in touch with your body and how it feels, and it’s healthier too -- especially when it’s working optimally and you have full range of motion.
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