By Shane Young | June 12, 2015 |
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how sexy good posture is! When you sit and stand with healthy alignment you can actually physically look 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. Psychologically, good posture conveys confidence, poise, and leadership even when you may not feel that way!
At Ascend, we are obsessed with healthy alignment. Building a solid postural foundation, just like the foundation of a building, gives you the ability to grow and be expansive in each of your daily movements.
I’m super excited to explore the functional benefits of healthy posture and share some simple exercises to promote core stabilization and proper posture in all you do!
In today’s device-driven society, few of us exhibit good posture. In fact, poor posture has the tendency to develop gradually and it’s difficult to notice symptoms which include back and neck pain, tightness, stiffness, increased injury, and decreased range of motion.
Luckily, there’s hope! You can cultivate healthy posture with these corrective strengthening exercises and stretches. Pay very close attention to your alignment while performing any exercise at Ascend and ask our experienced trainers questions if you’re unsure.
- Strengthen your core
Good posture starts with a strong core, which includes the abdominals, lower back, obliques, and hips.
Some exercises include: basic crunches, side plank, twisting crunches, standing side bends, plank hold, back extensions, and stability ball planks among others!
- Fix rounded shoulders
Rounded shoulders are a postural abnormality caused by spending hours hunched over a computer, tablet or phone, driving a car, or watching television. These forward-reaching positions shorten your chest, shoulder, and hip muscles, and the muscles in your upper and middle back begin to weaken.
Improve rounded shoulders with exercises designed to pull shoulders into their proper, aligned position: reverse dumbbell flys, rows with a resistance band or dumbbell. A few stretches are also helpful for tight muscles: standing chest stretches against a wall, torso stretch, and quadricep stretches using a stability ball.
- Neutralize tilted hips
When viewed from the side, your hips should be neutral and level. Some people’s hips tilt forward, which is caused by weakness in the hamstrings, glutes, and abs and tightness in the hip flexors and thighs. This is common for people who sit most of the day and spend a significant amount of time with their legs bent.
Some exercises to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes include bridges, leg curls with a stability ball, and single leg hamstring flexion using a stability ball. To help stretch tight muscles, try a standing or kneeling quadricep and hip stretch.
- Retract a forward head
By fixing tight and weak areas of the neck, your head will begin to center itself just above the shoulders—a sign of proper posture which may also decrease chronic neck pain!
Some exercises and stretches to help strengthen and release weak neck muscles include: neck retraction, neck stretches, and myofascial neck release with a foam roller.