Have you been hunched over a computer all day?
Need to improve your posture?
You know you’re supposed to get up and move around every hour – but hey – you’re in the creative zone and can’t stop now!
You know you need to re-assess your work-station –
Get a new chair.
Change the level of your computer.
Readjust your keypad height.
………and you’ll get to it! But……….
Does this sound like you? Well, you’re not alone!
Your body is in a slightly forward position for a lot of your day.
Whether it be at your computer, reading a book or magazine, at the kitchen bench cooking, driving your car – and the list goes on.
This subtle position over time has an effect on your posture and is more pronounced as you get older.
If you look at your Mum or Dad and compare their posture to how they were 5 to 10 years ago – there’s usually a big difference. They seem shorter and definitely more rounded through the upper body.
If you become aware of this, you can start to make changes in your exercising routine and in your sitting and standing habits.
This rounded position also has a negative effect on how you breathe.
Because if your shoulders are slightly rounded forward and your chest is sunken in, this compresses your diaphragm. So long, deep beautiful breaths are history!
Shallow breathing becomes the norm! This is NOT good for your stress levels or the muscular aches and pains in your body!
Being in that slightly rounded position for long periods of time can start to shorten the muscles in your chest.
Check Your Current Training Routine
It’s important to strengthen the muscles in your upper back. This will allow you to pull your shoulders back and give you your lovely upright posture again. But you MUST at the same time focus on stretching out the muscles in your chest.
Check your current training routine. Are you doing enough ‘back of body exercises’ that work on strengthening the muscles that pull your shoulders back? AND enough stretches to open up your chest?
If the answer is yes – Good For You! – you’re doing a wonderful thing for your body.
If the answer is ‘no’ or you’d just like another option to really work on opening up your thoracic spine (the upper part of your back) – this exercise below, is a proven way to stretch out your chest muscles and get that nice curve in your ‘hunched over’ back again!
You can do this before your workout AND after your workout too.
Chest & Back Opener Stretch
With knees bent, gently lower yourself down onto the roller so it sits just under your shoulder blades.
IMPORTANT: You may need to place a folded up towel or two, under your head for support. This will decrease the curve in your spine so you can gently open up in this position.
If you touch your neck, it should feel relaxed – if not, make your head support higher.
You can have your arms above your head or splayed out to the side. Wherever they feel comfortable.
Play some chill out music and stay in this position for 3-5 minutes – or however long feels good for you.
Breathe deeply and try to let go of any tension in your body.
When you’re ready to come up – tuck your chin in towards your chest first – then start rolling forward slowly. This avoids putting any pressure on your neck.
You’ll probably feel some tightness through your spine as you come up. Don’t be alarmed! You’ve just been gently stretching it in the opposite direction, so this is natural!
Roll to the side and go immediately into Childs Pose.
Feet together, knees wide apart.
Allow yourself a minute or so to really sink into this pose and let your body go.
Always work with what your body is giving you each day. Never try to force this type of stretch.
If you need your head support to be quite high, that’s perfectly ok – you’ll still be working on opening up your back and stretching your chest muscles.
It may take your body a few days to open up, a few weeks or a few months. You’re unique. So don’t judge yourself. Just be consistent with your stretches and with your back strengthening exercises.
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