It is easy to forget about your posture until you experience aches and pains related to poor ways of sitting or standing. You may not realize how sitting at a desk all day, driving, working at home (seated or on your feet), or going about daily errands can have severe effects on your posture. If you are experiencing pain or a lack of strength and flexibility, or if you would like to simply improve the power of your back, shoulders, and your overall posture, try incorporating these seven exercises into your daily routine.
The cat-cow yoga stretch targets the spine for improved flexibility and blood flow. Start on all fours on a yoga mat with your arms and legs a shoulders width apart for balance. Lower your abdomen and curve your back while looking up towards the ceiling. This will create a U-curve to the spine. Hold this for a few seconds. Next, arch your back and lower your head, tucking it into your chest to reverse your spine curve. Hold this for a few seconds as well.
Remember to engage the core muscles with proper breathing. While going into the position, breathe in through the nose. While holding the position, breathe out through the mouth.
Repeat this movement for 60 seconds.
2. TOWEL EXTENSION
This exercise is best done using a long foam roller. Lay on a yoga mat with your foam roller in the center of your back along your spine. Your head should be resting on the roller as well. Keep your knees bent, and your feet planted flat on the ground for stability.
Hold the ends of a towel in each hand, and pull your arms away from you so that the towel is straight and provides you with gentle resistance. Start with your hands by your hips. Grip the towel, rotate your shoulders back, lift your arms straight up and over your head as far as you can go. Slowly return to your starting position with your hands by your hips.
Try to continue this stretch for two minutes or as long as you can to elongate your back muscles and open up your shoulders.
3. DOOR FRAME EXTENSIONS
Stand in an open door frame and place your hands and elbows on the frame beside you. Your hands should be slightly higher than your head, allowing you to keep your spine as tall and straight as possible. Extend one foot ahead or you and lean forward to switch your weight onto it while keeping your back and neck straight. You should feel your chest open and your shoulder blade rollback.
Hold this stretch for a few seconds, rest, and repeat. Experiment with lowering the placement of your hands on the doorframe to alter where you feel this stretch! Again, work on breathing while doing this. This particular stretch helps fight the common contractures seen in the pectoralis minor - this is the source of most forward-rolled shoulders.
4. CHILD'S POSE
This familiar yoga pose is fantastic for stretching your spine and latissimus (large muscle on the flank that brings the arm downward - like in the butterfly stroke of swimming). Sit on your knees on a yoga mat or soft surface with your knees together. You should be sitting back into your heels. Bend forward and stretch your hands ahead of you while continuing to keep your hips planted back into your heels. Stretch forward until your forehead touches the floor. This pose also passively stretches the spine and allows the thorax to open.
Hold this stretch for up to five minutes, breathing deeply and allowing the muscles of the back time to extend. Do not continue this stretch if the pain is intense.
5. WALL ANGELS
Begin by standing with your back, hips, and head against a wall to keep your posture straight and tall. Bend your arms at the elbows and touch your knuckles to the wall on either side of your head. Extend your arms upward, keeping your knuckles against the wall, until your hands reach above your head as if you are doing a jumping jack. Lower your arms back to your beginning position.
Repeat this motion for one to two minutes—breath in as you move the arms up and breathe out as you move the arms down.
Remember to stay aware of your body as you perform these stretches and exercises. You may experience some sensitivity as you stretch out any tension in your muscles, so take these slowly and focus on breathing. If you begin to feel dizzy or experience severe pain, stop immediately and consult with your physician or a physical therapist to help you find the right exercises for you.
SUPPORT A HEALTHY POSTURE
WITH THE HEALING SOLE
Your choice of footwear can significantly impact your posture more than you think and can cause pain and sensitivity in your hips, back, neck, shoulders, and more. Since your feet are the foundation of the body, it is important to choose footwear to support them properly.
The Healing Sole offers moderately raised arch support, rocker bottom sole, and structured footbed to protect and cushion the foot from high levels of impact, engage and support the feet’ muscles, and stretch and strengthen the feet during wear. While our footwear does not alter alignment, The Healing Sole alleviates foot pain to not only make walking more comfortable and support a healthy balance and alignment.
Try our footwear for yourself today!