Balancing Your Posture for Better Health
In our recent blog post, Why Good Posture Is Important, we talked about how proper alignment supports the muscles and joints and overall health.
What is proper alignment? Using a mirror, align your ears, shoulders, and hips. Proper alignment places your ears loosely above your shoulders, above your hips. These points make a straight line but the spine itself curves in a slight ‘S.’ This shouldn’t hurt at all. If it does, look at your side view in a mirror to see if you’re forcing your back into an unnatural position and adjust for more comfort.
Doing exercises that strengthen the muscles across your upper back and shoulders will improve your alignment. These do not have to be strenuous. We’ve shared some simple ones below:
- Align your ears over your shoulders. Raise both arms straight up, alongside your ears. Remember to keep your ears aligned. Bend forearms toward shoulders to touch your shoulder blades. Do 10 repetitions with both arms, then alternate 10 reps for each arm singularly.
- Align your ears over your shoulders. Raise both arms out to sides at shoulder height. Hold for a slow count of 10. Slowly lower arms to sides, counting 10 as you lower. Slowly raise arms back to shoulder height, counting to 10 as you raise arms. Do 10 reps, constantly checking your alignment. If 10 reps are too many to start with, do as many as you can. You should at least feel a slight fatigue in the shoulder muscles.
- Be a penguin. While you wait for a web page to load, bread to toast, or the microwave to beep, place elbows at your side, and touch your shoulders with your hands. Keeping your hands on your shoulders and your ears aligned, raise both elbows (count one, two) and lower them back to your waist (count one, two). Do as many reps as your wait allows. You’ll be surprised how much exercise fits into 30 seconds.
- Tilt and stretch your head in all four directions over your shoulders ~ forward, back, left, right ~ and gently massage your neck. Avoid rolling in a circle as it can cause strain.
- On your hands and knees, curl your back upwards like a cat, and then the opposite, dropping it down towards the floor. Think about being able to place a bowl in the hollow of your back.
Repeat the exercises a few times each day. Doing them in the morning helps your body stretch out the muscle lethargy of sleep. And doing them periodically throughout the day helps raise your energy level without a heavy workout.
For more ways to be mindful of your posture: Do a soft workout at the gym. Practice easy yoga. Make an appointment at Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto and get regular bodywork. This will help greatly to reduce muscle tension, promote relaxation, and improve soft tissue function so that the healing intelligence of your own body will naturally lead to better posture and improved health.