We spend our days bent over a computer screen, running after kids, doing household chores – activities that can take a toll on our joints and cause neck, shoulder and back pain in the long run. But the good news is that we can dramatically reduce these outcomes by practicing proper posture.
Optimal posture is more than simply being mindful of how we stand, sit, walk and lie. Rather, it involves strengthening and stretching key muscle groups that affect range of motion and ability to stand or sit still.
So pause your Netflix marathon, put down the laundry and take a few minutes to try out these simple moves from Miraval Arizona’s fitness supervisor Pam Trudeau. Your future back will thank you!
#1 Head Glides
Purpose: To strengthen your cervical spine (A.K.A. your neck).
Using light pressure from your fingertips at the back of your head, resist bending your head backward.Hold for two full breaths. Repeat 3-5 times per set.
#2 Arm Sweeps
Purpose: To open up shoulders and thoracic spine (A.K.K. the middle part of your spine)
Standing up, bring your arms straight out from sides and raise as high as possible without pain.Repeat 10 times per set.
#3 “L” Raise
Purpose: To strengthen shoulders and muscles around shoulder blades.
Lie on your stomach with your upper arms straight out from the sides, elbows bent to 90 degrees. Pinch your shoulder blades together as you raise your arms a few inches from the floor.
Repeat 4-6 times per set. Do 2 sets.
#4 Lotus Extension (A.K.A. Superman Pose)
Purpose: To stretch and strengthen your chest, shoulders, arms, legs and glutes.
Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Inhale and lift your torso and legs, while reaching your arms straight back and looking forward. Exhale and lower back onto the floor.
Hold for 3-5 full breaths. Repeat 2 times per set.
#5 Reverse Plank
Purpose: To strengthen and stretch lower back, glutes, hamstrings and core.
Sit with your legs straight in front of you, leaning back slightly on your hands, fingers pointed forward. Press hips up to shoulder height, releasing your head back and pointing toes. Lift one leg up for an added challenge.
Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat 2 times per set (or with other leg).
Purpose: Stretches the chest, neck, and spine.
Lie on your back, legs bent 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Press up hips and torso, reaching hands to feet. For an added challenge, clasp hands underneath your back and squeeze shoulder blades together, lifting body even higher.
Hold for 3-5 breaths.