It’s something we’re all guilty of – slouching. Whether you’re doing it at your desk, while walking or even taking the bus, poor posture is unfortunately quite common and subconscious. Learn how to straighten up with this practical guide from Dr. Stacy Irvine.
Using an exercise ball to improve posture:
Huge Half Circles with the Ball- Starting with your hands on either side of the ball and your arms as straight as possible. Lift the ball right over your head and stretch it back as much as you can. Very slowly lean to the side as far as you can, then rotate down to the front of your body while still reaching the ball away from you. Slowly move around to the other side, reach for a good stretch there and then back to the starting position. Repeat five times to one side, then switch directions and go to the other side.
With your knees slightly bent, hinge at your hips and try to reach your back out as flat as possible. With your arms straight on either side of the ball, slowly lift the ball so that it is horizontal with your back and head. Hold for three seconds and return to start. Repeat this move 10 times.
Starting on your knees with the ball in front of you, place your hands on top of the ball with your thumbs facing up. Lean forward and stretch your arms out in front of you with your head in between your arms. Apply slight downward pressure on the ball to stretch out your arms (you should feel this stretch across your chest and into your armpits). Without moving anything try to lift one hand off the ball at a time. It will not usually lift very high, just a few inches (or maybe even one inch), that is fine. Repeat alternating arms for 20 repetitions.
3 surprising RISKS of poor posture:
- It’s not just back and neck conditions – the first surprising risk of poor posture is incontinence. Having bad posture promotes stress incontinence – when you leak a little urine when you laugh or cough. This is because slouching increases abdominal pressure, which puts pressure on the bladder. The position also decreases the ability of the pelvic floor muscles to hold against that pressure.
- The second risk is constipation. Poor posture on a toilet (hunched over with your knees lower than your hips) can promote constipation. The position closes the anus somewhat and makes it harder for the abdominal muscles to help move faces out.
- The third unexpected impact of poor posture is heartburn and slowed digestion. Slouched posture after a meal can trigger heartburn caused by acid reflux – slouching puts pressure on the abdomen, which can force stomach acid in the wrong direction. Plus, research suggests that slouching causes transit through the intestines to slow down.
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