Isn’t it funny when back pain, shoulder cramps or neck soreness appear “out of nowhere”? You keep doing what you are doing day in and day out and out of the blue, your body “decides” to give out.
News flash: The body never decides to do anything you’re not enabling it to do. The body acts and reacts based on your choices. Body aches are the amalgamation of bad habits, of unhealthy choices and unwise tendencies we develop in our daily routines.
Today we will look at 3 exercises to improve your posture and battle these pains and discomforts, giving you an easy solution to a problem that can develop to something big.
Before we look at the exercises, we’ll look at the causes and propose some quick fixes.
Sitting On A Desk
Can the people with an office job please stand up? We’re not trying to hype you up or call for attention. We’re actually suggesting you stand up. That’s tip number one towards fixing any upper body related aches you might be experiencing.
Stand up, stroll in the office, suggest to your management to provide you with standing desks. Their benefits are irrefutable. Here’s some of the core benefits identified by the Harvard Medical School:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cancer (especially cancers of the colon or breast)
- Premature death
Standing is not the only thing you can do to reduce the strain on your body. There’s a lot you can do while sitting. This guide by the NHS ticks some of the most important points you should pay attention to.
- Support your back
- Adjust your chair so your arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint
- Rest your feet on the floor
- Place your screen at eye level instead of looking down to it
Lying On The Couch
For many people, this is the most relaxing part of their day – coming home after a long day at the office and relaxing on the couch watching some telly.
We’re not trying to ruin the experience, we’re just trying to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect your body in the long run. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Give your neck and back penty of support
- Sit across from the screen, not at an angle
- Change posture frequently
- Take breaks
- Avoid watching movies on your phone
Lying on the couch might give the illusion it relaxes you, but it can prove to be the source of many back or neck-related problems.
Now that we’ve identified some of the sources of your posture discomfort, let’s have a look at some more direct solutions.
Exercise #1 – Plank
Say hello to the almighty plank. An exercise that is simple yet extraordinarily helpful for your posture and overall health. Before moving to the benefits, let’s introduce the exercise to those who don’t know it.
This is how you plank:
Step #1: Place your hands on the ground, either with your palms touching the ground. An alternative is to touch the ground with the length of your hand from elbow to your wrist.
Step #2: Your feet should be stretched back open at the width of your shoulders, your body not touching the ground. You should be balancing on the balls of your feet.
Step #3: Your spine should be parallel to the ground.
Step #4: Your tailbone should be tucked so that it’s aligned with your spine, not sticking into the air.
Step #5: Make sure you squeeze your glutes (ass) tight.
Step #6: Your back muscles should be flexed and pulling away from the floor.
Step #7: Make sure your lower back isn’t sagging and your booty isn’t popping up. As much of a straight line as possible.
Try to hold the plank for as long as you can.
Now that you can do a plank, time to find out what it does for your body.
- Engages the whole body
- It needs no equipment
- Improves your flexibility
- Enables higher metabolic rate
The plank helps your body and health in a number of ways. When it comes to posture though, that’s when the real effects kick in.
- Strengthens back muscles
- Builds core strength
- Stabilizes joints
No equipment, no time wasting, no trip to the gym. Planking is the ultimate home exercise to battle bad posture and build a healthy, durable core.
Exercise #2 – Child’s Pose
This is one of the most underrated and underappreciated exercises. The reason? For some it’s the name. For others, it’s the seemingly easy execution of the pose.
At Club Health, we don’t follow trends or believe in what “most people believe in”. We like to investigate, test and come up with our own evaluations. The child’s pose is one of the exercises we regularly recommend to people that face posture problems.
Before we tell you why, let’s tell you how to execute it:
Step #1: Sit on your shin bones with your knees and big toes touching, whilst your heels are splayed out to the side.
Step #2: Bend forward at your hips and fold your body onto your legs. Then, walk your hands out in front of you.
Step #3: Try to place your forehead on the floor. If it’s not possible, try to get as close to the floor as you can.
Step #4: Keep your arms extended at all times.
Step #5: Take deep breaths and feel the air go through your rib cage down your waist.
Step #6: Keep this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.
Now that you know how to get into a child’s pose, here are the reasons why it’s not a child’s play:
- Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
- Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
- Flexes the body’s internal organs
- It lengthens and stretches the spine
It is an exercise that unlocks the lower back and spine, allowing your body to regain flexibility and range of motion. It releases all the tension you’ve been building through your routine and resets the body posture.
Exercise #3 – Hanging
To avoid any confusion, this is the exercise we are referring to:
You know pull ups, right? This is the exercise…without the pull up. Jump on a pull up bar and stay there. Just hang. Let your body weight drag you down. Don’t push, don’t pull. Just let gravity do its thing.
Reading our advice to just do a vertical hang might get you questioning the entire article but trust us when we say that this simple exercise can do wonders for both your posture and your body as a whole.
- Stretches out and decompresses the spine
- Lubricates, hydrates, and nourishes the intervertebral discs
- It does wonder for your shoulder strength, flexibility and endurance
Add this to your daily routine and it won’t be long before you see the results.
Here you have it. 3 exercises that will save you from those nagging pains in your back, neck and upper body.
Our mission here at Club Health is to constantly feed you with information and resources for a more enjoyable life. Your body is your life and we will do everything in our power to get the best out of it.
Stay tuned as there’s more from where this came from.