By Diana Okon
Photography by Joel Riner
Today’s workforce and lifestyle has made it difficult to maintain a healthy posture. With many jobs in the technology fields and high use of cell phones, many people find themselves sitting and looking down much of the day. Improper posture can cause mild to severe issues over time. These include digestive issues, poor breathing, shoulder, back and neck pain. Not to mention headaches and fatigue. Quality of life can be improved by counteracting postural issues with certain exercises and stretches throughout the day, or as a daily routine. Here are a few exercises that aide in creating good posture.
>> Planking of any kind is a great core exercise, and a strong core is key to healthy posture. Important to do 30 seconds three or more times a day.
>> Shoulder rolls reset and strengthen the shoulders and neck. Three sets of 15 throughout the day.
Stretch your hip flexors like a Yoga warrior.
>> Pilates swimming is a great way to strengthen your back without equipment. Lay on your stomach with arms extended overhead, and forehead lightly touching the floor or mat. Lift your right arm and left leg, hold for 15 seconds. Then switch, lifting your left arm and right leg. Do three or more sets throughout the day. (Pilates Swimming is a great exercise for all fitness levels, from Level: 0 to Level: Phelps)
Stretching is also important. Here are a few effective stretches to improve posture. Each stretch should be held for at least 15 seconds three times throughout the day.
>> Hip Flexor Stretch: Lunge forward with the right leg and extend arms overhead. Carefully stretch the hip flexors by sinking into the lung position. Alternate legs.
>> Shoulder Stretch: Clasp hands behind your back, extending arms until you feel a slight stretch. Elbows may be slightly bent. Bending forward at the hips will deepen this stretch and stretch the hamstrings as well.
The Shoulder Stretch: flexibility in a weak point for many athletes, but can easily be overcome by building a healthy habit of consistent stretching.
>> Chest Stretch: Facing into a corner or doorway, place your forearms against the structure with elbows at 90 degrees. Lean forward until you feel a stretch across your clavicle or collarbone. It’s important to remember stretching should not be painful. A deeper stretch comes with time and consistency.
These exercises and stretches can be done almost anywhere. Remember a small amount of consistency in strength and flexibility can make all the difference.