Slouching describes a rounding of the upper or thoracic vertebrae that is often accompanied by a forward head carry and is commonly referred to as hyper kyphosis. Spending too much time sitting at a desk or driving a car can lead to developing a slouch, as can being tall and habitually bending forward. Slouching is commonly caused by a combination of muscle tightness, muscle weakness and poor postural awareness and can lead to back and neck pain as well as headaches.
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Stretching To Stop Slouching
Stretch your chest muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your lower back. Point your fingers downward. Lift your chest and squeeze your elbows together. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds while maintaining your breathing.
Stretch your abdominal muscles. Lie face down with your legs extended and your hands beneath your shoulders. Lift your head, shoulders and chest off the floor by pushing gently with your arms. Only rise up as far as you feel comfortable. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds and slowly lower your body back to the floor and relax.
Stretch your hip flexors. Take a large step forward and bend your legs so that your rear knee is resting on the floor. Your front knee should be bent to 90 degrees. Slowly slide your rear leg back until you feel a stretch along the front of your thigh, all the way up to your hip. Keep your body upright and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Change legs and repeat.
Strengthening Exercises To Stop Slouching
Perform lying-back extensions. Lie face down and place your hands on your lower back and your forehead on the floor. Tense your glutes, pull your shoulders back and lift your head, shoulders and chest off of the floor using the strength of your lower back. Hold the top position for one to two seconds before slowly lowering back down to the floor and repeating. Perform as many repetitions as you comfortably can.
Perform wall angels. Stand with your back to a wall and lean against it. Raise your arms out to shoulder level and bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Turn your hands so that your palms are facing forward. Slide your hands up the wall as far as you can while pressing your arms flat against the wall. Lower your hands back to the starting position and repeat. Perform this exercise slowly, taking 10 seconds to raise your hands and 10 seconds to lower them.
Perform band pull-aparts. Hold a rubber exercise band in both hands and lift your arms forward to shoulder level. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, extend your arms out to the side until the band touches your chest. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
- Yoga for Regular Guys; Diamond Dallas Page and Dr. Craig Aaron; 2005
- Posture, Get It Straight! Look Ten Years Younger, Ten Pounds Thinner and Feel Better Than Ever; Janice S. Novak; 2006
- The 100 Best Stretch Tube Exercises; Ted Gambordella; 2008