Want to continue looking young and feeling energetic as you grow older? Work on cultivating proper posture.
Nothing screams “old and weak” as someone hunched over like Quasimodo!
Good posture will relieve pain, make you look younger and free energy. Why? Because when you sit or stand with an upright spine, you can breathe better. Your lungs can inflate and deflate to their normal capacity providing your brain and entire body with oxygen. You tap into your parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest and procreate nervous system) which is where you want to live to be healthy!
As a personal trainer, I look at corrective exercise training around posture as a two step process:
- What muscles are tight and pulling the bones out of alignment giving you the bad posture look? These are the ones we need to start stretching first.
- What muscles are weak and need strengthening to keep the posture neutral and balanced?
In this little video I introduce 5 exercises to help improve your posture:
- Stretch your chest muscles and the front of your shoulders to release tension in the front upper body. I propose foam rolling here. Hard but very effective. Releasing the pecs muscles will help later on to better engage the back muscles.
- Scapula retraction against the wall – Scapular retraction exercises will help stabilize the shoulders and upper back in a neutral position
- Scapula retraction / protration in a door frame. I like the stretching feeling as the body leans forward in the frame and the shoulder blades come together.
- Scapula retraction exercises laying down on a foam roller. It enables a massage of the trigger points in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades.
- Hip external and internal rotations to release tension in the hips. Tight hip flexors can also contribute to poor back posture and rounding of the shoulders. These exercises both open the hip flexors in the front and massage the sacrum where the back muscles attach. It will contribute to relaxing the entire spine.
After these 5 exercises are completed, you should feel more neutral in your posture. More is needed to strengthen the back muscles, but this is a great place to start, and you can also use these exercises are a warm up to a back day strength training routine.
Let me know if you have any questions!