As moms we are literally pulled in every direction, and our posture is victim to the demands of motherhood. Poor posture leads to back aches and pain… and who has time for that?!
Good posture helps minimize stress on tendons, joints and ligaments. Plus, better posture can have a significant impact on your quality of life— less back pain, strengthens abdominal muscles, improves your self-confidence and mood, and enhances how others see you.
How would you prefer to look?
Try out these 5 simple exercises to help achieve an instant postural adjustment:
These easy-to-implement, equipment-free exercises can help you achieve an instant postural adjustment. The moves can be done seated, but standing yields the best results.
Tight chest muscles can make it difficult to pull your shoulders back and down. One way to overcome this is to increase tissue mobility through self-massage.
Begin by rolling the shoulders back and down. Make a fist with the right hand and gently press the knuckles into the left pectoral muscle next to the sternum. Place the palm of the left hand on top of the fist for added pressure. Slowly drive the knuckles across the muscle toward the shoulder joint. Lift the hand, returning it to the starting position, and repeat.
Shoulder External Rotations
Internal rotation is a common problem. External rotation can help. Roll the shoulders back and down. Tuck the pelvis slightly to maintain a neutral lower-back position throughout the exercise. Slowly twist the wrists until the thumbs point away from the body. Hold for a few seconds and release; repeat.
This exercise stretches the muscles of the neck, allowing the skull to return to a more neutral, balanced position while the spine is lengthened. Stand with your hips and shoulders against a wall. Heels can be an inch or two away from the wall. Lifting through the crown of the head, gently bring the chin down toward the throat while pressing the back of the head against the wall for a few seconds. Rest and repeat. Place a pillow behind the head if the pressure is uncomfortable.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Start in a kneeling lunge position (one knee on the floor and the other leg bent 90 degrees in front of you with foot flat). Lift from the crown of the head to elongate the spine. From here, drive the hip of the kneeling leg in a gentle thrusting pattern to achieve the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat. Perform the exercise several times for both hips. Place a pillow under the knee for added cushion.
Hip Hinge With Fly
This exercise improves your ability to extend your upper back. Place feet hip-width apart, and hinge at the hips while simultaneously angling the upper body forward. Aim to slightly arch the lower back by lifting the tailbone. Retract and depress the shoulder blades. Start with the arms extended and palms clasped together directly in front of the chest. Then slowly swing the arms out to the sides of the body at about shoulder height with a slight external shoulder rotation, and pause when you feel contraction in the upper posterior muscles and a stretch in the pectorals. Release and repeat.
How to help your posture:
If you sit at an office chair all day, use your smartphone to set alarms that remind you to take STANDING breaks throughout the day.
Put Shoulder Blades in Back Pockets
My clients LOVE this cue to improve posture. As you read this, sit up tall … now take your LEFT shoulder blade and put it into your opposite back pocket, and place your RIGHT shoulder blade in your left back pocket. How did that feel? I bet your sitting tall and proud, and BONUS, you just engaged your deepest abdominal muscles!