As I have grown up I have noticed an increased reliance upon computers, iPads, phones and portable devices. Added to that the increase in time that we are stationary and/or sedentary and bending forward be it reading, driving a car, watching TV, socialising or preparing food. Gravity is slowly winning!
As a result, over the years I have also seen poorer and poorer posture amongst people starting at a younger age leading to arthritic changes in the neck and back. Instead of seeing this beyond the age of 50, I have been seeing it in people in their 20’s and 30’s.
We need to be able to change some of our habits, a bit like rebooting our computer. This is done (a) on a neurological level, and as a Chiropractor we do this by gently and specifically adjusting the spine. This triggers a series of neurological events effecting the bones, ligament, muscles and their receptors helping you to change your balance and your perception as to where you are in ‘space’. And (b) by retraining your body.
To achieve optimum results, these exercises need to be done consistently on a daily basis to help reprogram and retrain your brain, and reboot your brain body connection. I have also found that introducing these exercises to clients a few weeks into their Chiropractic care has given better results. This is due to the spinal adjustments starting to break down some scar tissue, making the joints more mobile and the body more accepting of change.
Here are my 3 top posture exercises that I have used to help hundreds of people retrain their body for better posture:
1. Posture Button – done sitting or standing. Time required 10 seconds.
Place one finger on the top of your head. Straighten your body upright so as this is the highest point possible – like you are being pulled up to the heavens by the top of your head.
2. Rolled Towel – done lying on your back
Lie on your back either on your bed, or on the floor. If you decide to lie on the floor place a pillow under your knees to relax them or lie with your knees bent. Roll up a towel and place it under your neck. The towel needs to be firm, and the height is so the back of your head is just touching the surface that you are lying on. Lie like this for 5 – 10 minutes, relaxing.
Done standing against a wall, with your heels, buttocks, shoulders and the rear of your head against the wall. For all of these movements your palms of your hands should be 90 degrees to the wall with your thumbs in contact with the wall at all times
Step #1 ‘Y’: Stand with your arms and hands directly above your head, elbows straight and fingers pointing to the ceiling.
Step #2 ‘W’: Keeping your thumbs in contact with the wall, bring your upper arms down 90 degrees. Your fingers still point towards the ceiling. You should feel your shoulder blades come closer and your chest rise. Both sets of arms now form a ‘W’.
Step #3 ‘T’: Keeping your thumbs in contact with the wall, straighten your elbows. You are now in the ‘T’ position.
Step #4 ‘L’: Probably the most difficult of all of the positions, and will take a while to master. Keeping your thumbs in contact with the wall, slowly bend the elbows whilst at the same time bringing them closer to the side of your body. Both of the arms will form and ‘L’ (one normal and one in reverse). You will feel your shoulder blades get closer and your chest rise. Remember to keep against the wall as described at the beginning of this exercise. It can take a few weeks of practice to get to the ‘L’ position.
These exercises, if done correctly, can help combat the effects of our daily lifestyle, helping to open up and straighten the body; reactivating, retraining and stretching muscles; and prevent the health effects of a poor posture