Posture must be given the same importance as other healthy choices like exercising, eating right, resting well, etc. You cannot think of being fit and healthy without giving due importance to your posture. One of the biggest advantages of maintaining good posture is that is makes you more energetic, healthier, and enables you to move gracefully. Good posture is more about being conscious of yourself and in rhythm with your entire body. When your body is properly aligned, your bones, rather than your muscles support your weight and thus strain and effort on the body is greatly reduced. Read more about right posture during weight training.
When you intentionally or unintentionally repeat poor posture every day, your body’s structure slowly changes and adapts to it, resulting in misalignment and pain. There are some common postural mistakes that we all make without realizing it.
Here we look at 5 common bad postures and the simple home exercises you can do to correct them.
Bad posture 1: Hunchback
Cause: Sitting for long hours with bad posture. For instance, sitting hunched over a computer screen.
Pain: Neck, shoulder, and back.
Problem: The bad sitting posture causes the chest muscles to tighten leading to an excessively curved back in the upper back or thoracic region. The muscles of the upper back loosen and eventually weaken.
Solution: The following exercises are very effective:
Upper back foam rolling to increase the mobility of your upper back. Lie on a foam roller placed in the middle of your back and perpendicular to the spine. With your face facing upwards, keep your hands behind your head and bend your upper back over the roller five times. You can repeat for each segment of your upper back by adjusting the roller. Read more about artificial rollers for flexible back.
Prone cobra to strengthen the weak muscles in your back. Lie with your face down, arms at the sides, and palms down. Slowly lift your chest and hands off the floor, and press your shoulder blades together, keeping your chin down. Hold this position for five seconds. Do this ten times. Repeat two to three sets daily. Here are more yoga poses for upper body strength. You can also try bhujangasana for strengthening the back
Bad posture 2: Rounded Shoulder
Cause: Sitting with a bad posture while typing, or imbalanced exercise regime involving excessive chest pressing.
Pain: Neck, shoulder, back
Problem: Sitting in that position results in the chest muscles tightening, causing the shoulders to rotate forward internally. The muscles of the upper back weaken and loosen.
Solution: Stretching to relax the tight chest muscles: Place your arm against the wall on the side of a doorway in a high-five position, with your elbow bent 90 degrees. Take a step through the doorway and you will feel a stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets of this, four times daily. Here are some exercises to get a sculpted chest Exercise to strengthen the muscle of the back (trapezius): Lie on the floor, face-down, and place both arms at a 90 degree angle in a high-five position. Maintaining the same angle at the elbow, lift both arms by dragging the shoulders backwards and pressing the shoulder blades towards each other. Hold this position for five seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets of this, four times daily. Here are some exercises for strengthening the back.
Bad posture 3: Over-Pronated Feet
Cause: Pregnancy, obesity, inappropriate footwear can weaken the arch resulting in over-pronation of the foot and sometimes flat feet.
Pain: Medial knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.
Problem: It adds pressure on the foot, tightens the calf muscles, and may rotate the knees towards each other. It often results in conditions such as Metatarsalgia (pain in the toes of the feet), heel spurs (growth of an extra bone from the heel), plantar fasciitis (pain in the sole of the foot), and bunions (a condition where the part where the great toe joins the rest of the foot, points outwards).
Solution: The best solution is orthotics (devices used to correct the alignment), especially if the arch has fallen or you have a ‘flat foot’. If the arch is weak, walking or running barefoot may help in strengthening the arches. However, orthotics is the best option, so consult your doctor before proceeding.