Did you know that for every inch the head moves forward in posture, its weight on your neck and upper back muscles increases by 10 pounds?
For example, a human head weighing 12 pounds held forward only 3 inches from the shoulders results in 42 pounds of pressure on the neck and upper back muscles. That’s the equivalent of almost three watermelons resting on your neck and back!
When you neglect your posture, you invite chronic back pain. Rounding your low back while sitting for extended periods of time in front of a computer, standing for hours stooped over, sleeping improperly and lifting poorly can all lead to debilitating aches.
Maintaining the natural lumbar curve in your low back is essential to preventing posture-related back pain. This natural curve works as a shock absorber, helping to distribute weight along the length of your spine. Adjusting postural distortions can help stop back pain.
A basic remedy to sitting all day is to simply get up! Frequently getting up from a seated position and doing these six quick and easy realignment exercises can help you reeducate your muscles from getting stuck in a hunched over cave man position.
1. Chin Tuck
The Chin Tuck can help reverse forward-head posture by strengthening the neck muscles.
This exercise can be done sitting or standing. Start with your shoulders rolled back and down. While looking straight ahead, place two fingers on your chin, slightly tuck your chin and move your head back (image at left). Hold for 3-5 seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times.
Tip: The more of a double chin you create, the better the results. If you’re in a parked car, try doing the Chin Tuck pressing
the back of your head into the headrest for 3-5 seconds. Do 15-20 repetitions.
2. Wall Angel
Stand with your back against a flat wall with your feet about four inches from the base. Maintain a slight bend in your knees. Your glutes, spine and head should all be against the wall. Bring your arms up with elbows bent so your upper arms are parallel to the floor and squeeze your shoulder blades together, forming a letter “W” (image at left). Hold for 3 seconds.
Next, straighten your elbows to raise your arms up to form the letter “Y.” Make sure not to shrug your shoulders to your ears. Repeat this 10 times, starting at “W,” holding for 3 seconds and then raising your arms into a “Y.” Do 2-3 sets.