The modern sedentary lifestyle of sitting down all day long, looking down at your phone/laptop/tablet is ruining your posture! It causes that slumped over posture you see more and more often, and can cause arthritis, particularity as you get older. This doesn’t have to be the case! If you get up and move more often and stretch out those tight muscles and strengthen the ones that get weak, you are safeguarding your posture for life
Your body changes according to the type of activity you are doing. So if you are sitting in a chair a large majority of the time (as most of us do!) then it changes to fit what you are doing and adopts bad posture as default. It remembers. Luckily we can use this intelligence to coax it back into good alignment. So what is good alignment?
Your pelvis is neutral
Imagine if you had liquid inside your pelvic bowl. In neutral alignment the liquid would stay inside the bowl and not be spilling out of the front or the back. Sitting slumped back in a chair will cause the liquid to spill out from the back. Overarching your lower back will cause the liquid to spill out from the front. Neither is good!
Your shoulders are down and away from your ears and in line with your body
If you looked from the side you would see your shoulders in line with the side of your body and not hunched forward (scrolling through Facebook!). The spine is nice and tall and you may even feel like you have to move back in space to find this alignment, as we are so used to hunching forwards.
Stress also causes the shoulders to hike up. When you get a fright, the first thing you do is hunch up your shoulders. Stress can cause you to be in that state all day long, so relax those shoulders!
The crown of your heard is over your heart, with the back of the neck neutral
Your head is nicely balanced in the centre of your body. The neck has a natural curve to it and if it moves forward, the neck goes out of balance and the muscles along the back of the neck strain to hold up your head, which weights up to 14 pounds! Heavy!
Here’s what happens when you sit slumped over in a chair all day:
The hip flexor muscles and hamstrings get tight as they are in a shortened state through sitting all day long.
The chest muscles get tight as you hunch forward.
Your neck and shoulders hold tension from holding up your head in that forward position.
Your core muscles get weak.
Your upper and mid back muscles get weak.
You can get back pain, neck pain, headaches and eventually arthritis from bad posture.
So what can you do about it?
The best thing you can do is get up and move often from your chair! Here are also a few moves you can do with a chair, couch or bed to stretch those tight muscles. No Yoga equipment or outfit needed!
- Stretch out your neck by holding onto your right elbow with the left arm behind you and drop your ear towards your right shoulder. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
- Place your hands on your knee and move forward in your chair. As you inhale open your chest and gently arch your back and look up for Cow pose.
- As you exhale round the back and tuck your chin into your chest for Cat pose. Repeat Cat / Cow in the chair for 5 rounds.
- Sit on edge of the chair facing left and move your right leg back until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip. Keep your spine straight and gently engage the lower abs and hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Stand up so you are facing the chair, feet hip width or wider apart and bend forwards until your hands rest on the chair. You can move back with your feet until you feel a lovely stretch along the whole of you back. Let the head rest.
- Open the chest by clasping your hands behind your back and gently lifting them up. Try to keep your neck neutral.
A regular Yoga practice will also help to greatly improve your posture. I’m focusing on posture and stretching and strengthening the related muscles in the Monday class 19.15 for the next few weeks before my holiday! Why not join me? You can book online here