Weekend Challenge: Dynamic Posture Corrector

This weekend’s challenge is a postural move that extends the thoracic vertebrae and flattens the upper back. It also expands the rib cage to encourage deep breathing.

You’ll need a bench, stool, or chair for this exercise – but a coffee table or bed works just as well.

So let’s get started!

Why:

At the Save Institute, we know that preventing and reversing kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump) and maintaining good posture are important to Savers, and not just for appearances’ sake. Your bones and your overall health suffer when your shoulders are rounded, and your posture is slumped.

After all, you can’t build bone as effectively through exercise if your bones are not aligned. Also, kyphosis, Forward Head Posture (FHP), and other postural errors can have a deleterious effect on your general health, causing headaches, damage to the vertebral discs, digestive problems, and an increased risk of fracture and early mortality.1

To review the research and learn more about how poor posture can tear down your health, please click the link below:

The Dynamic Posture Corrector also addresses another important component of bone health that’s often overlooked: deep breathing.

Why Deep Breathing Matters

Deep, cleansing breaths are important for your bone health and your overall well-being for several reasons: stress relief, body alkalization, and more energy.

1. Deep Breathing Helps To Relieve Stress

Stress affects your bones, and not in a good way. I’m not talking about the healthy stress we put on our bones and joints during weight-bearing exercise. I’m referring to stressful situations in our everyday lives, some of them chronic.

While we may not always be able to change our circumstances, we can take steps to relieve the stress in our lives by managing our reaction and response to stressful situations. This is vital because chronic stress wears down your bones through the production of cortisol, the highly acidifying stress hormone that has been scientifically shown to cause bone loss.

You can read more about stress, cortisol, your bones, and the science behind it here: Don’t Let Stress Destroy Your Bones! Relax With These 5 Proven Stress Busters.

2. Deep Breathing Alkalizes Your pH

While a pH-balanced diet is essential for balancing your pH, breathing also plays a role.

When your breathing is shallow, carbon dioxide (CO2) builds up more quickly than it can be expelled. This can be clearly seen in cases of extreme shallow, rapid breathing, or hyperventilation, which can result in a dangerous drop in the blood pH known as respiratory acidosis.

While respiratory acidosis is considered a medical emergency, habitual shallow breathing is not. Of course, the effects of breathing in a rapid, shallow way (or not breathing at all, as when you unconsciously hold your breath when you feel angry or upset) are more gradual and subtle than hyperventilation leading to acute respiratory acidosis. But the two breathing issues – hyperventilation and shallow breathing – ultimately lead to acidification of the body.

There’s no need to reiterate how damaging an acidic state is to your bones; Savers are keenly aware of how acidosis causes low bone density and how important it is to correct this imbalance through the pH-balanced, clinical nutrition plan that lies at the heart of the Save Our Bones Program and through proper breathing. In fact, if you have the Program, then you know that an entire chapter (Chapter 14) is devoted to stress relief and the role that healthy breathing plays in correcting acidosis and promoting relaxation.

3. Deep Breathing Increases Energy Levels

Breathing correctly not only promotes relaxation; it also increases energy levels. That may seem ironic until you realize that it’s really about re-focusing your energy. In other words, when you practice deep breathing, you’re relieving stress and all the energy that’s going toward those stressful feelings and directing it toward your body’s energy levels.

That includes mental energy and alertness, too. Your brain needs oxygen for mental clarity and good cognitive skills, and so do your bones and muscles. In fact, oxygen is essential for proper systemic function.

How does this weekend’s challenge address all of this? The Dynamic Posture Corrector opens and stretches the rib cage, moves your scapulae downward, and promotes good posture that allows you to breathe deeply and stand tall. So here’s how to do it.

How:

  1. Kneel down in front of the bench, chair, coffee table, etc., as mentioned earlier. Your toes should be pressed lightly to the floor and your heels facing up.
  2. Rest your elbows and forearms on the bench in front of you; clasp your hands together by interlacing your fingers.
  3. Position yourself far enough away from the bench that your back makes a straight line from your hips to the top of your head at approximately a 45-degree angle.
  4. Keeping your hands clasped, bend your elbows and bring them back behind your neck, bending at the hips as you do so. Your back should still be straight, but will end up at an approximate 90-degree angle.
  5. Now go back up again, bringing your hands up behind your head and back out in front of you. Your elbows will stay on the bench throughout the exercise.
  6. Continue bringing your clasped hands behind your head and forward again for 30 seconds (or as long as you are comfortable).

We suggest following the Dynamic Posture Corrector with the following three moves that also target the upper back:

Feel free to weave these or any other Weekend Challenges into your regular Densercise™ routine; they’re highly compatible with the “Densercises,” because they address similar areas of the body and deliberately target key areas of the skeleton that are of particular concern for Savers (such as the upper back and pelvis). Additionally, like the Weekend Challenges, the moves in Densercise™ don’t require much space or any special equipment.

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I hope you enjoyed the Dynamic Posture Corrector as much as I did! Please share your experience with the community by leaving a comment below.

Have a great weekend!

References:

1 Kado, Deborah M., MD, MS, et al. Hyperkyphosis, Kyphosis Progression, and Risk of Non-Spine Fractures in Older Community Dwelling Women: The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF).” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. October 2014. 29(10): 2210-2216. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177348/

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  1. jillian March 31, 2018, 10:39 pm

    Hi! Vivian from Aus.Is this exercise safe for people with Kyphosis……Happy Easter .Jill

  2. Lucia Getsi March 31, 2018, 8:30 pm

    In the first exercise, which is supposed to be an exercise encouraging deep breathing, there is not one mention of breath at all, not one. Just saying . . . .

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 31, 2018, 10:10 pm

      This exercise expands the rib cage, which makes deep breathing easier 🙂

  3. Elaine March 31, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Is there another way of doing this exercise if one cannot kneel? Many thanks

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 31, 2018, 3:02 pm

      If you can find a surface that’s tall enough so when you rest your elbows on it your back is on a slight angle with your arms, you could do it standing up. Typically kitchen counters, tables, and dressers are too low, but you could get creative and pile some books or other 🙂

  4. Iris March 31, 2018, 12:17 pm

    Great exercise Vivian! I notice a difference in my breathing right away. Thanks so much for giving us all these ways to improve our life and our bones!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 31, 2018, 2:58 pm

      You’re very welcome, Iris!

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