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5 Steps to Improved Posture

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Long gone are the days when proper posture was taught in schools. Poor posture is more a problem now than ever and our health is taking the fall for our disobedience.

Why is posture so important?

 Believe it or not, bad posture can be the cause for a lot of common ailments and health problems. Aside from the obvious back and shoulder pain, the way you carry yourself can influence your lung function, gastrointestinal regularity and can even deepen feelings of depression. 

The way we stand has a lot to do with our day to day activity. Look around you at any point and you are bound to see at least a few people craning their necks downwards while browsing their smartphones.

Not so smart if you ask me.

Apart from detaching yourself from your mobile device, there are steps you can take not just improve your posture, but effectively reverse the damage you may have done to your neck and back.

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Most people associate good posture with a strong back, but the truth is standing straight involves the whole body.

From the soles of your feet, to your knees, hips and all the way up through your stomach, it takes the strength of your entire structure to maintain a tall and healthy stance.

Here are 5 exercises which target all the parts of your body that work together to keep you standing straight. Just a few minutes each day is all it takes to improve your posture.

 You may find that the chronic pain you’ve been battling to soothe disappears after following these simple steps.

1. Hands and Knees

You will want to make sure you’re wearing comfortable, loose fitting clothing so you can have full range of movement for all of these stretches. 

Starting on your hands and knees (creating a table with your body) simply begin to swing your shoulders from side to side. As you will see from the video below, the more movement the better.

The goal is to engage all the muscles in your upper body, and move air into them with increased movement. I like to play music to encourage free movement.

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 Do your best to roll your body around in a way that almost feels like a worm wriggling through soil. This will help to realign your spine and restore the ligaments that are often tense from chronic pressure.

2. Upright Planted Balance

Moving slowly and fluidly from your hands and knees, you will want to slowly roll up to a planted standing position. By challenging your balance, you encourage activity in the muscles which otherwise lay dormant.

Keeping your feet planted, swing your arms at your sides to rotate your upper body and twist out a stiff back. Feel free to swing your arms up and down or around in circles to help loosen the connective tissue in your shoulders.

3. Core Strength

With feet still on the ground you can start swinging your body from side to side, lifting your legs as you feel is natural. Be sure to monitor your breathing with deep inhales through your nose and exhales from your mouth.

Keeping your hips stationary, start moving your chest towards the ground in a fluid motion. Moving around you will feel your core muscles engage which is a good indication that you are improving all the muscles needed to maintain a proper posture.

4. Hip Movement

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Once you’re ready, feel free to relax the hips and fully engage the upper body. With a soft bend at the knee, swing your hips in a circular motion to awaken tense nerves.

5. Release Hamstrings

The final step will be to release the tension in your hamstrings and engage the entire body. Feel free to tip your head upside down to encourage blood flow and optimized circulation.

Although these steps can help you loosen up and achieve full movement, there is no wrong way when it comes to comfort. Make sure you’re moving at a level that doesn’t cause pain or discomfort.

The idea is to stretch and loosen, not cause more strain!

Sources:

http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/how-bad-posture-affects-your-health-and-happiness?slide=8

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14896/4-simple-steps-to-get-great-posture-video.html

Image Source:

http://www.lifestyleboom.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/importance-of-good-posture.jpg

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