Correcting Bad Posture
Even though we make it into the YMCA for exercise, living in the age of technology means we spend more time on our phones, tablets, and computers which not only causes a more sedentary lifestyle but also issues with our posture. Research studies have indicated the average person spends 2.8 hours a day on mobile electronic devices (Bosomworth, 2005). A recent article describes that as the head tilts forward its weight effectively goes from 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position to as much as 60 pounds at 60 degrees of flexion when, which is the typical position that we have while using a mobile device (Hansraj, 2014). All this extra pressure causes issues with our muscles, ligaments, and overall posture.
One of the easiest ways to prevent long term effects of technology use is to take frequent breaks and perform mini-exercises during the day. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (Cruz, 2015) has suggested some strengthening and stretching exercises to keep your posture in check and you feeling your best.
Begin standing with good posture. Shoulders should be back and head up. Bend elbows to 90 degrees and keep elbows near sides. While maintaining good posture, draw shoulders back squeezing shoulder blades together. A stretch may be felt in the chest and front of shoulder. Do not allow shoulders to raise upward. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Beginners should start with 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
Doorway Chest Stretch
Place forearm on wall, or doorway, with elbow bent at 90º. Elbows should be slightly below shoulder level. While maintaining forearm contact, lean body into doorway until gentle stretch is felt in the chest and shoulder. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Beginners should start with 3 repetitions on each side.
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Begin standing in front of a chair about 18 inches away. Place one foot flat on the chair seat. Slowly allow hips to glide slightly forward until a gentle stretch is felt on the front of straight leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Beginners should aim for 3 sets each per side.
Glute Hip Bridge
Begin lying on floor, facing up. Bend knees so feet are firmly on floor and arms extended. Activate core muscles. Lift hips off floor to attain a bridge position with knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment. Slowly return to start position. Initially, some cramping in the back of the thigh may develop. A simple hamstring stretch, before and after, may prevent this from occurring. Beginners should aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.