Do you feel like your posture could use a tune-up? Us, too. With today’s tech-centered culture, it’s normal to spend a significant amount of time slouched at our desks, hunched over our laptops and looking down at our phones. It’s no wonder that posture-related back pain is at an all time high!
The good news is you can improve your posture by incorporating these simple exercises into your day, courtesy of Pilates expert Robin Long of The Balanced Life! Have a spare five minutes? Get to work!:
Cobra Pose. Lie on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders, elbows tucked back by your rib cage. Rest your head on the mat. Take a moment to pull your belly button up toward your spine and inhale. As you exhale elongate your neck forward along the mat and then lengthen the upper spine into extension. Your head and chest will lift off of the mat while you simply use your hands for gentle support. Return to starting position and repeat 6-8 times.
Swimming. Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched up by your ears. Rest your forehead on the mat. Inhale as you prepare, drawing your belly button toward your spine, exhale as you lift all 4 limbs and your head up off the floor. Keep your gaze down toward your mat. Raise your right arm and left leg and then switch sides to imitate a swimming motion. Keep breathing in and out as you continue with little kicks from side to side. Flutter the arms and legs for 10 slow breaths.
Front Support. Front Support is the Pilates term for a straight-arm plank. Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Draw your belly button up toward your spine and extend your feet back behind you to find a plank (or push-up) position. Keep you spine in neutral and imagine your front hipbones drawing closer together. This will engage your deep core muscles. Keep your head in line with your spine and hold for 10 slow breaths.
And remember - be sure to take breaks throughout the day to sit up straight, take a deep breath and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Happy sitting!
p.s. Don't forget our 2-minute breathing trick!