Most of us have been taught how important it is to stretch before exercising, but did you know that stretching for just a few minutes each day can have a great effect on your posture? A lot of us sit at a desk all day, ending up with sore shoulders and a stiff back. Today we’re going to tell you four stretches that everyone can do to help reduce discomfort and keep your body moving properly. It is important to remember that none of these stretches should cause you any pain.
Pec stretch: When someone has tight pecs they might have a hunched posture and rounded shoulders. The pecs need to be stretched so that your arms have a full range of movement and to reduce upper back and neck pain.
To stretch your pecs stand in a doorway and place the palm of your hand and forearm flat against the wall. Both your shoulder and elbow should be at 90 degrees, with your forearm flat against the wall and pointing up to the sky. Gently turn your feet and body away from your hand so that you don’t twist your spine and you can feel a stretch across the front of your shoulder. Once you feel the stretch, hold it for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
You can move your forearm further up the wall to target different areas of your pecs, and it’s a good idea to also repeat the stretch with your shoulder at 45 degrees.
Upper traps: When you have tight upper traps you might appear stressed from holding your shoulders high. This is very common and lots of people hold their stress in their shoulders. Stretching your upper traps can help reduce neck and upper back pain, make it easier to breathe, and help you feel more relaxed.
Take you hand, place it on your head and gently pull your ear towards your shoulder and hold. Then angle the head looking down towards the knee and gently pull the head with comfortable tension. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before swapping to the right side.
Lower back: One great stretch for your lower back is child’s pose. If you’ve done any yoga in the past you may already know it. It’s a very relaxing stretch for your whole spine and the muscles in your lower back. Start by kneeling with both knees on the ground or a soft, level surface. Slowly sink your hips back until you are sitting on your feet and your arms are stretched out on the floor in front of you. Empty your mind and relax. This stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds, but can be held longer if you feel comfortable.
Hip flexors: Your hip flexors run down the front of your thighs. It is very common for them to be tight in people who sit for long periods. Since most people work or study at desks all day, this is very common in today’s society. Tight hip flexors commonly lead to low back pain and poor posture with its flow-on effects.
Kneel on one knee and place the unaffected foot in a large stride in front of you. Push the hips forwards evenly and keep you body straight until you feel the stretch in the front of the hip on your back leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds before walking your hands forward to have a 10 second rest.
These stretches will help combat many problem areas that we see in the clinic. If you are looking to improve your posture and health, then doing these stretches daily (at least half an hour after you wake up) is a great place to start.