Posture is important for your overall health and movement. To avoid injury and pain, both in the short term and also chronic problems in the longer term.
Poor posture is caused by a few things, namely; tightness in certain muscles and weakness in the opposing muscles. When a muscle is tight, the opposite muscle doesn’t activate as well, and it is hard to build strength while the opposite muscle is tight. To fix this, stretch out the common tight muscles that cause poor posture.
Sitting at a desk, looking down at a computer or phone and sleeping in funny positions are all common causes of poor posture. To improve posture, you want to stretch these muscles listed below, whilst using an exercise regime to strengthen the muscles at the back of the body.1. Pec Minor – The pec minor is a muscle in the chest that will pull the shoulders and head forwards if it is tight. To stretch it see the video:
2. Scalenes – Scalenes are muscles at the front of the neck that often get tight and short if you do not have perfect posture. This is most commonly caused by having a forwards head posture from using the computer. To stretch the scalenes see the video:
3. Hip flexors – The hip flexors are powerful muscles at the front of the hip. They are often short and tight because we spend a lot of time in sitting positions. To combat this, do not spend too much time sitting down; get up every 20 minutes to stretch off and walk around, or even work from a standing desk. To stretch the hip flexors see the video:
4.Thoracic spine – The thoracic spine is the mid-upper part of the spine, from the mid back to the base of the neck. This is an area that often gets curved forwards due to the shoulders being pulled forwards and the weight of the head being forwards, pulling the spine in to an excessive curvature. While the thoracic spine should curve forwards gently, it is often too far forwards and gets ‘stuck’ in a tight position, restricting movement and leading to problems at the shoulders or lower back. To stretch and regain movement in the thoracic spine see the video: 5.Abs – The stomach muscles are another victim of too much time in sitting postures. They become short and weak, putting undue stress on the lower back. To combat this, stretch the stomach muscles as shown in the video, and also work on strengthening the lower back and core muscles: 6.Lats – The lats are muscles that go from the upper back, cross the shoulder and join on the upper arm. They’re responsible for moving the shoulders and often get shortened in rounded postures, such as hunching forwards to type. The lats are big powerful muscles, if they become short and tight, they will pull the shoulders and upper spine with them in to a poor position. To stretch the lats see the
Combine these stretches with an exercise regime to strengthen the opposing muscle groups and your posture will improve, decreasing risk of injury and chronic pain.