As a chiropractor, I am all too familiar with misalignment and the effects it has on our bodies. Poor posture can contribute to many chronic pain ailments and ultimately prevent us from being active, setting off a chain of poor habits.
Obviously, the key here is to restore our alignment and there are some simple exercises that can help you achieve this. Lots of times we perform exercises but neglect to strengthen and stretch certain structures that help us stay upright and that stabilize us.
Here are a few good ones:
This will help counteract the tendency to hunch and roll our shoulders forward.
Stand a few feet away from a table, back of a chair or desk and keep your feet hip-width apart and keep feet pointed straight ahead. Lean forward and place your hands (palms down) on the structure so that your torso and legs form a 90 degree angle. Relax and let your head fall between your shoulders and let gravity take over. Hold for up to two minutes.
-Face the wall stretch:
This will assist in aligning the musculature of the chest, shoulders and the pelvic region.
Stand facing a wall with the feet shoulder width apart and with the feet pigeon- toed. Lift the arms straight above the head, again shoulder width apart and very important to have the backs of your hands against the wall. This will help you feel an added stretch in the hips and shoulders. Hold for 1 minute and gradually increase your time each time you do it.
You will notice at first that it may be difficult to have the backs of your hands against the wall but as the structures align up, it will become easier to be in this position.
If you have practiced yoga in the past, you might be familiar with these stretches. This will help with range of motion in the pelvis and lower back.
Get on all fours and place your hands directly below the shoulders with the fingers pointing forward and make sure that the knees are properly lined up with your hips.
Take a deep breath and as you exhale, slowly arch you're back upwards like a cat would and then press your chin toward your chest. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Next, arch in the opposite direction and pull your neck and head upward. At the same time, bring your upper and lower back downwards and lift your buttocks in the air. Hold for 5 seconds.
Keep doing this cat/cow cycle for up to 10 cycles.
This obviously is hitting the groin musculature and, if done consistently, can align the hips and ultimately allow your shoulders and back to return to a more anatomically correct position.
You will need a chair or some type of table so that when you lie on the floor, one leg can rest on top of it and form a 90 degree angle.
As you lie on your back, bend one leg and place it on the chair or table. Stretch your other leg out on the floor with the toes pointed towards the ceiling. Place the arms out to the side with palms up and rest in this pose for up to five minutes.