Does sitting at a desk all day give you back pain struggles? Team Grenade Ambassador and Exercise & Performance specialist, Adam Whatley gives you 6 quick stretches to help improve your posture.
Poor posture is extremely common and is often a cause of complaints with back, neck and shoulder pain. This is because it causes imbalances and throws the muscles out of normal alignment. It can also affect our normal walking, which can lead to back and knee pain. It's extremely important to work at correcting your posture and implement preventative measures to help you avoid potential injuries.
Maintaining a good natural posture will help in preventing posture-related aches and pains. The spine curvature works as a shock absorber, helping to distribute weight along the length of your spine and adjusting postural distortions can help prevent issues.
Carrying out these 6 quick and easy postural corrective stretches can help you re-educate your muscles and help too avoid being stuck in a hunched uncomfortable position and to restore normal function.
Sitting Advice for Good Posture
The ideal sitting posture is to sit up onto your butt-bone, this will instantly prevent slouching, creates a healthy lumbar curvature and will automatically pull your shoulders back and keep your head neutral. This will allow for corrective seated alignment, and resist against any detrimental postural imbalances. At the same time, it's very important to actively keep your shoulder blades back to prevent the shoulders from slouching.
The 5 Stretches
1. Doorframe Stretches
This is an important stretch for the chest muscles, which commonly become tighter and problematic with poor posture. This can then lead to shoulder and neck issues over a period of time, which can then lead to tendinitis. Adopting and maintaining good flexibility across the chest muscles is imperative for maintaining good posture and preventing neck and shoulder problems long-term.
To perform, ensure your elbow is in contact with the doorframe, with your arm held at 90°. Aiming to stretch the front of the chest, this to hold the shoulders in the correct alignment.
2. Neck (Trapezius) Stretches
This is a very important stretch for maintaining good neck mobility and preventing issues that are commonly associated with poor posture. Most common issues include neck ache and headaches.
To perform, slowly and gently bring in your head towards the direction of the same shoulder. Aiming to feel a stretch in the opposite neck muscle. This will aim to stretch tight muscles which are impacting your neck posture.
3. Seated Spinal Rotation Stretches
Many of us work and live sedentary lifestyles which overtime consequently causes dehydration of our disks through prolonged compression, thus commonly relating to back issues. Maintaining good flexibility throughout the spine is again a very good preventative measure to resist against occurring problems.
To perform, sit straight on and look to rotate the body over to the side, aiming to stretch the middle and lower spine (with associated muscles). This stretch can be reinforced by putting your arm the opposite side.
4. Upper Back Stretches
Often problems develop within the back of the shoulder blades as they have a very important role in stabilising the shoulder. As a result these muscles can become problematic with poor posture and increased tension can develop in these areas. This can be easily prevented via maintaining good flexibility and posture.
To perform, slowly stretch your arms directly out in front of you, as if you are trying to separate your shoulder blades. Slowly bring your chin to your chest at the same time. This aims to stretch the muscles across the back of the shoulders.
5. Hip Flexor Stretches
This muscle becomes problematic with poor posture and secondary lifestyles. This muscle attaches from the front to the leg up onto our spine. Long periods in a seated position therefore contributes to the shortening and tightening of this muscle. As a result this causes increased strain on the lower back. This can cause ongoing postural imbalances and consequently injury.
To perform, keep one knee in contact with the ground and the other leg forward to stabilise. Slowly lean forward into your front leg until you feel a light stretch in the opposite hip at the top. This is aimed to restore hip muscle length from prolonged sitting.
Following these quick, easy to do stretches will help you to maintain correct alignment. In turn, this allows for injury prevention and optimal muscle function. Optimizing postural alignment is crucial for the body to move through full ranges of movement and this has huge impacts on exercise and performance.
Stay tuned for more blogs from Adam to see further information and advice on posture, performance, and injury prevention.
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