The number of people experiencing neck and posture problems has increased exponentially in the past few years.
From cell phone usage to long hours working on computers, the reasons for this are many.
People in Canada also have a habit of sticking their chest out and pulling their shoulders back while walking and sitting. This contributes to the growing number of posture problems in Canada.
Daily Stretches for a Healthy Posture
Bad posture is one of the most common causes of painful acute and chronic back and neck conditions. Hunching and bending forward impedes the natural curvature of the spine and adds pressure to the shoulder and neck muscles.
The good news is that there are several daily stretches and exercises which can help you improve your posture and alleviate back and neck pain:
The Child Pose
This is a resting pose that lengthens and stretches your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It releases tension and relaxes the muscles in your neck and lower back. The steps for this pose are:
- Keep your legs and knees together and sit on your shin bones. Your heels must be spread out to the sides and your big toes should touch each other.
- Bending forward at the hips, fold your body slowly by walking your hands gradually out in front.
- Slowly drop your hips until they touch the back of your feet and your thighs are all the way down and resting on the back of your shins.
- Keep your arms stretched and outward from your body and gently place your head down with your forehead touching the floor.
- Relax and continue breathing deeply into the back of your ribs and waist while maintaining the pose for five minutes.
This is a popular yoga pose that balances out your body. It also strengthens and aligns the back muscles while relieving any back pain you might be experiencing. Regular practice of this encourages a healthy posture. The steps are:
- Start with your hands and knees on the floor
- Relax your upper back and stretch your elbows
- With your finger splayed and pressed firmly on the ground, gently start putting pressure on your hands.
- Lift your knees off the floor slowly and exhale while tucking your toes.
- Keep pressing away from the floor as you continue lifting through your pelvis
- As you lengthen your spine and lift your hips straight up until they are facing the ceiling.
- Keep the pose for 5–100 breathes and then release the pose gently by bending your knees and returning to the start position.
Office Desk Stretches
It’s possible that you won’t get time for a proper exercise session during workdays. There are a few stretches that you can do while sitting or standing at your desk which can help improve your posture.
Stretch #1 — Stand up straight and keep your chest elevated. Tuck your chin in and keep the pose for 5–10 seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
Stretch #2 — Keep your head straight and slowly lower it toward one shoulder while keeping the ear lines up. Make sure your head doesn’t go forward. Hold for a few seconds and repeat the stretch in the other direction.
Stretch #3 — Stand up straight with your chest out. Clasp your wrists behind your back while keeping your arms straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together while trying to slide them back and down towards your waist. Keep breathing deeply while you stretch. Repeat 10–15 times.
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