Back pain has become increasingly common and it's mainly the result of bad posture. But with these exercises, back pain can be a thing of the past.
Do you ever get up from your computer and suddenly, your back is just all kinds of twisted and pain is shooting up your spine? Well, you can credit that to bad body posture that comes from spending too much time working at the desk or hunched over smartphones. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association states that at least 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their life and it can affect anyone, no matter their age.
Good posture is when each of your body parts is supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Some of the most important muscle groups that are essential in maintaining good posture are the hamstrings and large back muscles. So when you sit in the right posture, all your ligaments and muscles work properly to give you support without adding extra strain.
It could be a result of incorrect sleeping positions, stress, slouching, anxiety, or very tight muscles. The longer you take to fix it, the more it could lead to health complications. Some of which include shoulder and back pain, headaches, stiffness, fatigue, sciatica, muscle atrophy, difficulty breathing, digestion issues and more.
Keeping good posture can help decrease the risk of deterioration of muscle strength and reduce muscle strain as well as pain. Not just that, it helps your body use less energy which can lead to better efficiency of your body.
Thankfully, there are a few exercises that are aimed at improving posture and reducing the pain you feel in your back and shoulders.
1. Pectoral doorway stretch
To do this, stand inside a doorway with your left arm at a 90-degree angle. Then, place your forearm against the door frame and keep your bent elbow at shoulder height. Slowly rotate your chest to the right and hold that pose for 30 seconds. Then repeat it with your right arm.
2. Cobra stretch
For this stretch, start by lying down on the floor face first. Keeping your palms under your shoulders, breathe in. As you do, lift your chest off the floor and roll your shoulders back. Don't allow your neck to scrunch though. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and slowly return to the original position.
3. Pectoral ball smash
This requires a tennis ball. Place the ball against your chest and shoulder and keep it in between your body and the wall. Roll it around until you find the spot that is giving you the most discomfort and hold it for 20 seconds. As you feel the knot lessen, roll it around to find similar spots.
4. Back extension
Lying down on your stomach with your forehead on the ground. Keep your arms on the sides, press your palms against your thighs, keep your elbows straight and squeeze your legs together with the toes out. Then breathe out, elevate your head and chest and then lower them while inhaling. Do this activity 10 times.
With your elbows bent on the floor under your shoulder and your body weight on your forearms, tighten your core. Hold the position for as long as you can without feeling the strain.
6. Bow pose
Lie on your stomach with your knees bent. Then bring them to your hips, grab your feet with your hands and lift your chest, knees and head off the mat. It will look like a bow. Then inhale and as you do, kick your legs with your arms following naturally. Breathe out and repeat the exercise 5 times.
7. Cat/cow pose
This exercise begins with getting down on all fours. With your palms under your shoulder and knees below your hips, inhale. Pull your belly in and stretch your back like a cat with your tailbone curving down. Drop your head as well. Then, go back to the initial pose and then stretch your head and tailbone up. Do this 5 times.
These exercises are much more effective if you take 5 minutes out to do them every day. Slowly and steadily, it will help you improve your posture, your slouching will reduce and your muscles will become stronger.
If you want to work on correcting your posture while you aren't at home or want to do it alongside your chores, you can try out the following:
1. Hold your abs tightly
2. Walk around at intervals to keep from sitting too long
3. Picture yourself standing tall
4. Sleep comfortably and preferably not on your stomach
5. Use the right pillows and comfortable mattresses
6. When you're standing, place most of your weight on the balls of your feet and keep your knees slightly bent
7. Imagine yourself standing tall
8. Remind yourself not to keep slouching