Continuing with our month of posture awareness, this week's topic is SLOUCHING. Now that everyone is back from vacation, we are finding that this is the perfect time for more posture policing. Today is our last blog in this series of three regarding posture. You can find the first two here and here.
Whether we are going to remain on Zoom calls or back to the office in person, we are going to have to battle the roller coaster of poor posture.
I can go through the million benefits of why good sitting and good standing posture is key and I can speak at length for days. But for the sake of ease, I'll spare you. We all know deep down that good posture yields better self-esteem and productivity. Today our focus is on getting those getting the rest of your slouch back upright and balanced.
Here are my top 4 exercises to combat slouching:
Hip Holds 1
Hip Holds 2
Here is why these exercises work:
Most of the time, slouching begins at the lower back and is a result of compressed segments in the lumbar spine. Bottoms up is, in essence, a mobilizing exercise and flossing of the spine and the nerves in the legs. After we have created some space for those poor nerves, we move onto an awareness exercise.
Pelvic clocks allows you to have awareness while moving through different planes. The idea is to be aware of the movement of the pelvis and hips in order to take strain off of the lower back.
Last, we'll finish off with hip holds 1 and 2. This exercise was created to maximize back health and stability. Once again, it will help re-emphasize the use of the hips so that they learn to generate motion instead of solely relying on the lower back.
Bottoms Up: Simply put, this exercise feels like a stretch. Start from a seated position with your head looking down. Grab your ankles with each hand and then start straightening your knees and trying to lift your butt off of the chair. Continue to do this to your limit or until your legs are straight. If you are unable to continue to straight legs, don't fret. The more you practice this stretch, the easier it will get!
Pelvic Clocks: You'll perform this exercise lying on your back with your legs bent. We are doing a sort of macarena by tipping your hips/pelvic girdle in the fashion of a clock. You'll want to do this exercise both clockwise and counterclockwise.
Hip Holds 1: For this exercise, you'll want to lay on your back. Hook a yoga strap behind one knee and bend to a 90-degree angle at the hip. So one leg should be straight against your bed or floor while the other is up in the air, strap hooked around the knee (almost like only that one leg is seated in a chair). Drive that hip downward but fight back with the strap so that you reach a stalemate. Do this until any shaking stops. If you are using your quad muscle, you are doing it incorrectly. Only the glutes and hamstrings should be engaged!
Hip Holds 2: This exercise is just like hip holds 1 but in the seated position instead of lying down and your foot will act as though it is glued to the floor. Once again, no quads and only glutes and hammies. Hold again until any shaking stops.
Routinely doing these exercises for a good 5-6 weeks will yield visible change. If you find yourself needing reminders to avoid poor sitting or standing posture, my favorite device is the Upright Go! We love it so much, we even made it into their commercial. :) You can find a link to the Upright here.
Dr. Justin C. Lin