Simple Exercises to Improve Posture Problems Caused by Technology Use
Do you catch yourself spending mindless hours scrolling social media, thinking, “I have to start doing posture exercises soon”? What do you think made you come to that realization?
Most likely, your upper back or neck gave you pain signals, telling you to ease your rounded shoulders, sit up straight, and reduce the painful pull on your joints, ligaments and muscles.
Poor posture has a lot of health implications. Not only have bad posture habits been linked to pain and fatigue, but they can also affect our mental outlook.
The good news is there are 5 daily exercises to improve posture that are simple to do and make a big difference.
How Technology Use Can Create Bad Posture
With more and more people working from home and relying on technology to communicate with colleagues and loved ones, it is more important than ever that we stop to examine our posture.
The effects of using electronic devices can wreak havoc on our bodies.
To shift our focus back onto our physical health, we must make posture exercises part of our daily routine. But first, let’s look at what having a good posture means.
What is “Good Posture”?
Ideal posture is where your body maintains its balance with the least amount of strain on your muscles and ligaments.
Having good posture helps prevent back pain, reduce fatigue from standing or sitting for long periods, improve your performance when playing sports and even improve your breathing patterns.
Good posture is achieved in the standing position by:
- Standing tall (straight) with your shoulders back
- Keeping your head in a neutral position
- Holding your core engaged
- Feet at a shoulder-width distance from each other
- Shoulder in line with the ear (side view)
- Relaxed knees (not locked)
- Weight distributed evenly on your feet
Practice in front of a mirror daily to see how close you are to this ideal alignment. Pay attention to how your body feels when you stand like this: does it feel complicated or awkward? Does anything hurt? These are clues that you need posture correction exercises.
Effects of Poor Posture
Poor posture can cause a variety of health issues: from headaches and muscle pain to breathing and digestive problems. In addition, millions of Canadians miss work every year due to musculoskeletal conditions influenced by poor posture.
To help understand the effects of poor posture, use this visualization technique:
- Imagine your head as a bowling ball. The human head weighs approximately 10-12 pounds on average. In ideal alignment, this bowling ball sits neutrally on top of your shoulders, thereby reducing the pressure and tension on the discs, ligaments, and upper back muscles.
- Now imagine looking down at your phone: think about how far forward that bowling ball goes to look down. Think about the strain on the muscles and ligaments in your neck trying to hold your head!
Here’s a fact: For every inch your head comes forward, there is an additional 10 pounds of weight put on your neck muscles!
When you think of how many times a day you look down at your phone, think of the incredible strain on your upper body and neck. The same goes for looking at a computer screen. No wonder headaches are so common!
Improve Your Posture with Exercise and Awareness
When we consider how to improve posture, it’s useful to understand how our body holds us up:
- The muscles, bones and joints in our body must work in harmony to keep us upright and balanced.
- Our muscles must be strong enough to support our spine without putting undue strain on any area.
- When we use one set of muscles too much or only on one side of our body, we create asymmetrical imbalances in our bodies. These imbalances can lead to pain and discomfort, such as neck pain.
Posture exercises will help you improve your awareness of your body’s position so that you can consciously make corrections toward better alignment throughout your day. With regular practice, these movements will bring about positive changes in your posture over time.
Five Posture Correction Exercises
To improve your posture through small and simple changes, consider trying the following 5 exercises for posture awareness and correction. Think about doing these exercises at home and work as a regular part of your day.
- Body Position Awareness
Poor posture results in body positioning with:
- Rounded shoulders
- Slumped forward
- Head forward
A daily posture check can help with correcting bad posture.
Using a mirror, put yourself in good posture and close your eyes to remember how it feels. Practice this consistently so your brain remembers where you’re supposed to be.
- Desk / Seated Posture Correction
If you work at a desk all day, this video shows you how to improve your seated posture. Practice this position several times daily so your brain understands how it feels to sit with good posture.
All you need is a wall to perform this effective exercise that helps reduce rounded shoulders posture. Walls are fantastic posture check-in tools because they will always tell you the truth about where your body is sitting in space.
- Create Balance
Changing how you move during daily activities can help to reverse the bad habits that have created poor posture.
We all have a side of dominance and a preferred method of moving. However, this can be detrimental because only one side of our body is under stress. When you consciously use your non-dominant side, it can improve your neutral posture.
- Reverse Forward Lean
If your body tends to lean forwards, a good exercise to improve posture is to hold something heavy in front of you, such as in this Standing Exercise for Too Much Forward Lean. This forces your body to shift its centre of gravity to compensate, training the back of your body to strengthen and balancing out the strain on your front muscles.
Consistency is Key to Good Posture
Building a consistent posture routine is the key to success. These daily habits will help build up the strength and stability for proper posture:
- Hold your phone upright instead of looking down at it.
- If you sit at a desk, get up and move around regularly.
- Establish a regular fitness routine consisting of mobility and strength training.
- Review good posture when sitting at a desk.
We Care About Your Posture and More
At Mind Body Spine, our passion is to improve your overall health and happiness.
On top of posture exercises, we have a massive selection of online home exercises to help with musculoskeletal problems. Also, we can tailor a home exercise plan that looks to improve your complete posture at home and in the office.
From therapeutic exercise to nutrition and top-notch chiropractic therapy, we offer comprehensive solutions to help you live your best life. Contact us today to book an appointment.